Altare Privilegiatum


Document from Bishop Dudley Cary-Elwes, Bishop of Northampton, granting the request of the Revd. Ernest Shebbeare the status of Priviledged Altar to the High Altar in Saint Thomas's Church at Woodbridge.  13th May, 1930.


Woodbridge Parish Archive.


An altar is said to be privileged when, in addition to the ordinary fruits of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, a plenary indulgence is also granted whenever Holy Mass is celebrated thereon, the indulgence must be applied to the individual soul for whom the Mass is offered.

The privilege is annexed not to the altar-stone, but to the structure itself, by reason of the title which it bears, that is, of the mystery or saint to whom it is dedicated (in this case, Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Martyr). Hence if the material of the altar be changed, if the altar be transferred to another place, if another altar be substituted for it in the same church, provided it retains the same title, and even if the altar is desecrated or profaned, the privilege is preserved.

To gain the indulgence, the Mass must be a Mass of Requiem, whenever the rubrics permit it. If, on account of the superior rite of the feast of the day, or on account of the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, or for other reasons, a Requiem Mass cannot be celebrated, the indulgence may be gained by celebrating another Mass (S.C.Indulg., 11 April, 1864).


Sign above the High Altar, erected circa 1930.

Lettering by Margaret Agnes Rope.


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