The home is the domestic Church (CCC 1658). Nothing could be more Catholic than to dedicate a corner of your home to the worship of God. When people walk into your house, you want them to know that you have a Catholic home. It is a place of witness, as well as private prayer.
Every shrine should reflect what is meaningful to you. But at a minimum, there should be a crucifix, and a table for things like the family Bible, prayer books, and a votive candle. Cut flowers are nice, when available. We have a lampada with a perpetual flame that burns olive oil. (You learn a lot about the importance of not running out of oil, and trimming your wicks.) They may be easily found through Orthodox suppliers. In fact, since the Orthodox maintain a tradition of the "icon corner," a good Orthodox supplier might be a good first stop.
The crucifix is from St. Meinrad Archabbey. Yes, it's big. The large icon of the Theotokos is from Russia, and was a gift. In front of it burns our lampada, which would not be out of place at the Czar's Winter Palace. It is much more imposing than it looked in the catalog, and the Bear's mate was a bit surprised when we unboxed it. Oh, well. It is beautiful.
The seasonal icon is displayed below, in this case, Christ breaking the doors of Hell and leading out Adam and Eve for Easter. During ordinary time, we bring out various other icons: The Ladder, Christ the Sower, or maybe a patron saint. Christ the Good Shepherd is to the left of the Theotokos, and below Him is a cross-shaped Western-style icon of St. Benedict. (We are a Benedictine household, after all.)
It is traditional for Catholic families to "enthrone" the Sacred Heart of Jesus and possibly the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and both may be seen to the right.
On the table is a statue of the Virgin Mary (lest anyone mistake us for Orthodox), a votive candle, a Bible (Douay-Rheims, if you're wondering, with Haydock's notes) and two copies of "Christian Prayer" to do the Divine Office.
The cloth on top is a great way to use heirloom linens. We found this in my mom's house after she died; it has shamrocks crocheted into the borders. Of course, we rotate them for cleaning purposes.
What about the fire hazard? one might ask. The Bear has kept the lampada lit for many years without a mishap more serious than a drop of spilled olive oil. With ordinary care, it shouldn't be a danger, but use your own judgment. We try not to leave candles unattended, say, when we go to bed, or when we leave the house.
That's really all there is to it. The only particular custom associated with "icon corners" is that Orthodox will go to it upon entering a house and say a brief prayer, a "greeting," as it were. Common decency requires that one keep the lamp clean, and dispose of any oil or tissues used in cleaning in an appropriate way (e.g. buried in the flower bed), not dumped into the garbage.
The home shrine is a powerful witness to visitors, and an excellent place to pray. It can also a creative way to personalize your devotion to the glory of God.
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