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What is the Douay-Rheims Bible
Posted by Ian on 31 January 2017 11:01 AM

The Holy Bible, faithfully translated into English out of the authentic Latin. Diligently conferred with the Hebrew, Greek and other Editions.
                -From the title page of the first editions of the Douay-Rheims Bible


History of the Douay-Rheims Bible

The Douay-Rheims Bible, which is also sometimes called merely the Douay Bible or abbreviated as the D-R Bible, is the oldest full Roman Catholic Bible translation in English. It is sometimes written with the spelling of Douai-Rheims, or referred to as the Rheims-Douai Bible. The spelling of “Rhemes” has also been used. The name is based on the fact that the translation was produced at the English College at Douay; the college had migrated to the area of Rheims and editions were printed there as well. Douay and Rheims, as well as Rhemes, are English spellings of the French towns of Douai and Riems, which explains the different spellings used in publishing. Douay-Rheims is the most common spelling used in publishing the translation today.

The Douay Bible dates to 1582 for the New Testament and 1609-10 for the Old Testament, and thus the Bible in its entirety. The reasons for the translation and publication were two-fold.

First, given the circumstances in England and Europe at the time, it was deemed pertinent that the faithful have access to a Bible they could read and understand, for pious use. This was especially true of the New Testament, which Catholics wanted to be able to read easily.

The second reason, which is connected to the first, was to respond to controversial editions translated by Protestant reformers. Around the end of the 16th century, there were about nine complete English Bibles and a few other New Testament translations in English. Many of the Protestant translations of scripture included controversial and biased translation, and were presented and used in polemical ways to support the Protestant schism. The publishing of the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible sought to provide an accurate, faithful English translation of the Holy Bible.


Translation and Style of the Douay-Rheims

The translation type of the Douay-Rheims is a literal translation of the Latin Vulgate Bible, initially translated by St. Jerome, which had been reaffirmed as authoritative by the Council of Trent. This is also called “word for Word” translation. Therefore it did not bend word meanings in order to fit biases. A great amount of time was spent ensuring the Bible was translated exactly. Some of the Latin words did not have an exact English equivalent. In these cases, the word was either kept in its original form or “anglicized.” Some words were not changed at all; for example with amen, which passed unchanged from Greek, into Latin, into English, or the word pasch.

In other cases the Latin word was rewritten, not as a true English word, but an English adaptation of a word. For example, the Latin version of Philippians 2:7 read:

sed semet ipsum exinanivit formam servi accipiens in similitudinem hominum factus et habitu inventus ut homo”

With no exact English word for exinanivit, the 1582 version of the D-R Bible began the verse with “He exinanited himself,” an anglicized version of the word exinanivit.

Conferring with and comparing to the Greek and Hebrew was also done to ensure accuracy.

 Douay Rheims First Communion Bible

The Douay-Rheims Bible Today

The Douay-Rheims Bible in its present form is not the exact translation of the 1582 and 1610 versions, but the Challoner revision of 1749-1752. The revisions by Bishop Challoner were minor in terms of meaning and theology. Basically the revisions included two aspects.

First of all, Challoner changed the bulk of the anglicized words to actual English words. The anglicized version of the Latin words were a barrier to popular use by Catholics, if they did not understand the Latin term itself. For example the verse from Philippians mentioned above was changed to begin, “He emptied himself…” as opposed to “exinanited.” The other main change was to update archaic language and spelling. For example, the 16th/17th century spelling of “bloud” was changed to the modern “blood.” This did not however remove the use of words such as thee, thy, hath, etc, which the Douay-Rheims preserved.

These revisions gave the translation great popularity and it remained the standard Catholic Bible until the mid-20th century and is still the favorite of many Catholics due to its eloquent language and clear, faithful rendering of scripture. The Douay-Rheims Bible is available in a variety of forms, from a basic leather version to the elegant, heirloom quality large-sized Haydock Bible with commentary. It is also available on audio CD.

To view our entire Douay-Rheims selection, click here.


The article included information from the New Catholic Encyclopedia and from Wikipedia.

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How To Measure For an Altar Server Cassock or Alb
Posted by Ian on 18 January 2016 10:32 AM

How to Measure for an Altar Server Cassock

Are you trying to purchase a new cassock or alb for your young altar server? Are you confused about how to measure for a cassock or alb for young servers?

Fortunately, measuring for cassocks and albs for children is pretty easy.

First, have your server stand up straight wearing the shoes he would wear for Mass.

Next, measure the height from the first bone you can feel in the back of the neck to where you want the bottom hem of the cassock or alb.

Altar Server Alb

Typically, the hem line should brush the shoe laces. You want to make sure that the vestment isn't so long that the server will trip over it but also not so short that he's showing off his socks.

Take the measurement in inches and find the corresponding size alb or cassock.

If you are purchasing an alb, you will probably also need a cincture. Make sure that you check the length and get a style that matches what the rest of the servers in your parish use.


If you are purchasing a cassock you will also need a surplice. While cassocks come in odd and even sizes, surplices only come in even sizes. If the cassock you are purchasing is an even size, get the matching size in a surplice. If the cassock is an odd size, choose the next size up for the surplice.


A caution about cassocks:

If you are measuring for a cassock for an adult or a large teenager, you may be tempted to try and squeeze into a size 18 cassock to save money. Please don't. You need to order an adult cassock.

Read our guide for measuring for adult cassocks and albs.

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Back to school gifts for Catholic college students
Posted by Ian on 27 August 2015 07:00 AM

Going back to college means preparing for many things - new friends, new classes, new challenges and even spiritual warfare. Your son or daughter could use some extra backup when going back to school because they will likely be confronted by students and professors who are hostile to Catholicism and they will also face the usual temptations that come with college life. At Aquinas and More we've put together a list of Back to school gifts for Catholic college students to help you out.

  1. Get some (spiritually) stylish threads. The scapular is a powerful sacramental that serves as a constant reminder of the Faith. Make sure your student has a new one that isn't on the verge of falling apart. Read more about the scapular promises in case you aren't familiar with this devotion.If your student isn't interested in a scapular, perhaps a Miraculous Medal or patron saint medal is more his style. We have several thousand to choose from and the patron saint medals can be engraved for that extra personal touch.
    Scapulars make a great back to school gift for college students
    Scapulars make a great gift for back to school
  2. Assign some reading homework. While your student will be buried in books to read for school, his soul can use some education, too.Disorientation - A travel guide to the wild west of cultural causes that thrive in college environments. With this guide, your student will be able to clearly see what is wrong with "isms" that he encounters at school:

    • Relativism
    • Progressivism
    • Modernism
    • Scientism
    • Fundamentalism
    • Radical Feminism
    • Multiculturalism and more

    Disorientation - How to Go to College without Losing Your Mind
    Disorientation - How to Go to College without Losing Your Mind

    Memorize the Faith - While the title of the book may not sound like school material, the methods taught in this book can be used to memorize anything, not just the Catechism. If your student has problems remembering groups of events or any other set of related facts, this book will show him how permanently remember what he is trying to learn.

    Memorize the Faith! - (And Most Anything Else)
    Memorize the Faith! - (And Most Anything Else)

    Another Sort of Learning - Your student is going to get all kinds of advice about how to get the most out of college. Why not take advice from a holy priest who has been teaching for several decades? As an added bonus, his writing is delightful.

    Another Sort Of Learning
    Another Sort Of Learning


  3. Because posters are so 1990's. Forget the MC Escher and other "cool" college dorm posters. Get your student a crucifix. If he's going to hang something on the wall, why not a reminder of hope and salvation? Christ on the Cross is far more interesting to contemplate than people walking up or down impossible staircases. The Saint Benedict Crucifix is one of our favorites.
    St. Benedict Crucifix
    St. Benedict Crucifix
  4. Buy some auto insurance. (visor clips) If your college student is going to be driving (What were you thinking?!?!?), he's going to need all the spiritual assistance he can get. We have a large selection of visor clips, both St. Christopher visor clips and many others.
    Visor clip
    Visor clip
  5. Get some beads. But not the groovy kind. Does your child pray the rosary? With all the stress about classes, homework, dating, sports, eating and laundry, your child could certainly use some heavenly assistance. Since you can't be there, why not have Jesus' mom watch out for your son or daughter? Our selection of rosaries is one of the largest online and you can find one at any price.
    Olive Wood Rosary
    Olive Wood Rosary


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Why have Crucifixes and Crosses in the Home?
Posted by Ian on 29 July 2015 06:00 AM

Save 20% on crosses and crucifixes through August 6th

The altar of the New Covenant is the Lord's Cross, from which the sacraments of the Paschal mystery flow. On the altar, which is the center of the church, the sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs. The altar is also the table of the Lord, to which the People of God are invited. In certain Eastern liturgies, the altar is also the symbol of the tomb (Christ truly died and is truly risen).
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1182
It has long been a tradition of Catholic families to hang crucifixes throughout their homes, or to even have a crucifix embedded into the foundation of the house. Some merely hang the crucifix on the walls of their home as a reminder of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, but beyond this it is also a sacramental, used in devotion to Our Lord and as a guard against evil.
The tradition is hard to date exactly; the earliest Christians did not openly display the crucifix partly to not scandalize the weak, and partly to avoid subjecting it to the ridicule of Pagans. Instead they carried and used veiled symbols in art, for example an anchor, to refer to the Cross of Jesus. However, by the 5th century, the open depiction of the crucifix had become widespread; by the 6th century veneration to the Cross was firmly established. The Christian Faithful not only used it in art and to hang on walls but also on household utensils and plates, medals, lamps, toys, combs, the seals of wine-jars, and even on water-pipes.
Ancient Crucifix
Ancient Crucifix
The two traditions that have lasted and remain prevalent in the lives of Catholics today are to wear a crucifix and to place them throughout the home.
Wearable Benedict Crucifix
Wearable Benedict Crucifix
They are often hung on the wall, but standing crucifixes which stand on a table are also popular. The Vatican’s exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, encourages the faithful to keep a crucifix in every room.
St. Benedict Table Crucifix
St. Benedict Table Crucifix
Prayer in front of a crucifix is encouraged as a means of focusing contemplation on Christ. Many of the saints practiced this, both in everyday prayer and also when they were suffering. Catherine of Siena was known to look upon a Crucifix for hours each day and when Joan of Arc was martyred, she asked a member of the clergy present to hold a crucifix before her.
Types and Uses of Crucifixes and Crosses
Latin Cross – The Latin cross is the most familiar crucifix to Catholics in the Latin Rite. It has one cross-section, a little higher than the middle, resembling a lowercase ‘t’ rather than a plus sign (+) as the Greek cross does. The Latin cross is only a proper crucifix when it has the body of Christ (Corpus) on it. The Latin crucifix can be hung or placed as a standing cross anywhere in the home.
Crucifix for your home
Crucifix for your home
St. Benedict’s Crucifix – This crucifix is associated with St. Benedict. It is a standard Latin style crucifix, but behind the head of Jesus, where the two bars that make up the cross intersect, a St. Benedict medal is embedded. (To read about the St. Benedict medal, click here). It can be hung anywhere in the home but is considered to be particularly suited to be hung above doors; it can even be sealed into the foundation of a house. This is because the medal is intended to be a constant, silent prayer asking for Christ’s guidance and aversion from the devil.
St. Benedict Crucifix
St. Benedict Crucifix
Icon Crucifixes and Plaque Crosses – The most popular icon cross today is the San Damiano Crucifix. Icon Crosses, like other icons, are more than intricate art, they are intended to teach the viewer about the subject matter presented, and indeed they are meant to transport viewers into a transfigured world. The San Damiano crucifix depicts certain people and imagery behind and around Jesus on the cross, to represent their roles in Christ’s passion. (To read more about the San Damiano Cross, click here.)
There are also crosses that are not true icon crosses but do have some sort of imagery. They are sometimes called picture crosses or cross plaques and are typically flat with some sort of image painted or varnished on. Aside from the San Damiano style, they are usually crosses, not crucifixes, and do not have the crucified Christ on them. Some typical imagery on these crosses are: military emblems, saints, trinity images, and children praying. They are largely used to hang in the home as a reminder of one’s relationship with God, and, with certain cross designs, how it is integrated with worldly occupations (such as being in the military).
Military Cross
Military Cross
Patron Saint Cross – Many people like to have a patron saint cross somewhere in their home. This is a cross that bears an image of a saint, as well as some other symbols, such as symbols of the Holy Trinity, and symbols associated with the saint. A person may choose a cross with the saint who is their namesake or another saint they have a particular and special devotion to. It can be used as a devotional and also serves as a reminder of the saint’s devotion to Christ.
Patron Saint crosses are great gifts for Confirmation
Patron Saint crosses are great gifts for Confirmation
Crib CrossesCrib crosses, like other crib medals are meant to be tied to the child’s crib or hung above as a form of protection. Typically they are crosses, not crucifixes, and depict a child or angel. Of course, it is also perfectly acceptable to hang standard crucifixes in a child’s room.
Baby Crib Cross
Baby Crib Crosses make great Baptism gifts
Event/Sacrament Cross – Crosses commemorating reception of the sacraments have become popular decorations in the home. They may be crucifixes or they may be crosses with images or symbols of the sacraments. For example, a wedding cross may have two interlinked rings, or a First Communion cross may be engraved with a host and chalice. These crosses might not be used in prayer and devotion but rather placed around the home as a reminder and symbol of the sacrament received and one’s growth in faith. Aquinas and more carries a large variety of sacramental crosses:
First Communion Crosses
First Communion Crosses

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What is a Scapular?
Posted by Ian on 16 July 2015 08:02 AM

Origins - the Scapular as Part of the Monastic Habit

Carmelite Nuns
Carmelite Nuns

The scapular, the two small pieces of wool most people think of when they hear the word, is a sacramental based on an important piece of the monastic habit. A true scapular, in the original use of the word, is a piece of cloth, about shoulder width, that is worn over the shoulders and falls not quite to the wearer’s feet. It is the most important garment for those in monastic orders and has also been adopted by non-monastic religious orders for both male and female. In the past the scapular also had bands on the arm, connecting the front and back panel of fabric and thus forming a cross on the body of the wearer; this style of scapular is sometimes still used today. For this reason, the scapular was also simply called a crux, meaning‘cross.’

Scapular belonging to St. Alphonsus LiguoriThe scapular is meant to be symbolic of an apron, indicating the wearer’s readiness and willingness to serve. That the scapular is a symbolic and not merely a practical apron is based on the point in the St. Benedict’s Rule, where he says that it is to be worn “for work.”Benedict uses a non-specific word for work here, not the word for manual work or labor, which he uses elsewhere in the Rule, and not the words specific to ‘God’s work,’ which he used elsewhere to include prayer. So it is believed that "scapulare propter opera" ("scapular for work") means a scapular to be worn always, whether while at prayer or while doing manual labor.

In the middle ages, it was common for the lay faithful to join religious orders in an affiliate sense, as a tertiary. Since some did not take full vows, they would not wear the full habit. Some others who took private vows would wear almost the full habit. The non-monastic, one not taking full vows, would be granted a “reduced scapular” to wear. This was two pieces of wool, about 2 inches by 3 inches each, held together by a band or cord and worn over the shoulder with one rectangle in front and one in back. Still larger than the devotional scapular worn by many Catholics, the shape and small size of this scapular is closest in appearance to what many lay Catholics wear. They are still often worn by tertiary members of the Franciscan, Carmelite, and Dominican orders.

Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Brown ScapularAlso called simply the Brown Scapular, this small scapular is the most well known and likely the earliest form of the devotional scapular. It may even be referred to merely as “the scapular,” where all other scapulae are referred to in the full name or by some distinguishing characteristic. Along the same line, the phrase “The Feast of the Scapular” refers to the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Pious tradition holds that the Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Simon Stock on July 16, 1251 in England, with a scapular in her hand and said to him,"Take, beloved son this scapular of thy order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant." According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, these precise words of Our Lady only appeared in written form in 1642, in a document that said these words had been dictated by Simon to his secretary and confessor. Historical documents cannot support the exact details or words, but the content is held to be reliable. That is to say, it is credible that Our Lady assured St. Simon Stock in a supernatural manner of her special protection over his whole order and all who would wear the Carmelite habit, indirectly extending to all Christian faithful who should wear the scapular as a badge of devotion, even if we cannot place the exact words.


Conditions for Receiving the Graces of the Scapular

Pope John XXIIThe promise and the following conditions are typically associated with a vision and Bull of Pope John XXII. The Bull that has been handed down since the 1400's was never mentioned for over 100 years after its supposed promulgation in 1322 and no record of such a document exists in the writings of Pope John XXII. It has been generally assumed that the extant text of the Bull is not an authentic document but the promises and conditions are valid and several popes have given the Carmelites permission to preach them.

Here are the conditions:

1) Wear the Brown Scapular continuously - this involves being enrolled in the Brown Scapular Confraternity.

2) Observe chastity according to one's state in life.

3) Recite daily the "Little Office of the Blessed Virgin."


3a) Observe the required fast of the Church as well as abstaining for meat on Wednesday and Saturday


3b) Recite the Rosary daily


3c) With permission, substitute some other good work.

Obviously, the Scapular is not a get out of Hell or Purgatory Free Card.

Form of the Scapular

The scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel should be brown, though black is acceptable as well, and must be wool. To have an image of Our Lady presenting the Scapular to Simon Stock on the scapular itself is quite common, but the scapular may also be blank. It is also common to have an inscription of Our Lady’s promise on the scapular. It may also have other images on it. For example there are Brown Scapulae bearing images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Sacred Heart, St. Charbel, St. Bendict, and others.

Other Devotional Scapulae

Though the brown scapular is the most common, there are many more approved scapulae faithful Catholics may wear:

The Green ScapularThe Green Scapular – This scapular is also called the Scapular of the Immaculate Heart. It is not a true scapular in that it is one single woolen square, not two. However it is a sacramental and so it is a scapular in the devotional sense. It is the only scapular that does not need to be worn but can be carried; it can come on a green cord to be worn or may also come on a small green loop. This scapular may be given in faith to someone you want to be cured or converted. The giver of the scapular must continue to pray daily to the Immaculate Heart of Mary after giving the scapular.

The White Scapular – This is another scapular associated with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. However this scapular is white wool, and is associated with the Sons of the Immaculate Heart. The front depicts the image of the burning heart of Mary, out of which grows a lily, and is circled with a wreath of roses.

The Trinity Scapular – This is a small white scapular with a red and blue cross and is connected to the Confraternity of The Most Blessed Trinity and tertiaries of the Order. The Order's founder, St. John de Matha, had a vision during his first Mass of two Christian captives, one of whom held a staff with a red and blue cross on top. From this vision St. John knew he was destined to work among captives for their redemption. Tradition also holds that in 1198, an angel wearing a white garment with a blue and red cross appeared to Pope Innocent III, who subsequently approved the Order of the Trinitarians.

The Blue ScapularThe Blue Scapular – This scapular is also known as the Scapular of the Immaculate Conception. It is associated with Venerable Ursula Benincasa, founder of the Theatines of the Immaculate Conception and was approved by Pope Clement X in 1671. It is now also associated with St. Bernadette and the miraculous apparitions at Lourdes because Our Lady said to the girl, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” There are plenary indulgences attached to this devotion with this scapular, under the ordinary conditions.

Sacred Heart BadgeThe Sacred Heart Scapulae – There are two sacramentals bearing the name of Sacred Heart Scapular. One is, like the Green Scapular, actually a sacramental badge. It is a wearable image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was promoted by St. Mary Margaret Alacoque. It may or may not be wool. The other is a true scapular, associated with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. One side bears an image of the Heart of Jesus and the heart of Mary in their traditional representations, the other an image of Jesus on the cross, the instruments of the passion at His feet. The scapular must be made of red wool and the bands connecting the two squares must be red woolen material as well. This scapular is also called the Red Scapular of the Passion or simply, the Passion Scapular.
The Black Scapular – The scapular associated with the Servite Order and the Seven Sorrows of Mary. It is black wool and has an image of Our Lay of Sorrows on the front piece. This scapular must be worn constantly if one wishes to gain the indulgences of the confraternity. This scapular must be invested to one by a priest from the Servite Order.Five-fold ScapularThe Five Fold Scapular – The Five Fold Scapular, also called a Five Way Scapular, is a Redemptorist Sacramental. It is a combination of five of the most popular scapulae: the Brown, Black, Blue, Trinity white and Red Passion scapulars.

The Scapular of St. Michael – This scapular traditionally is in the shape of a small shield (though it may also be a standard rectangle) and is made of blue and black woollen cloth. It is connected to the Archconfraternity of the Scapular of St. Michael and depicts St. Michael triumphing over Satan.

Other devotional scapulars include the Passion Scapular and the Mercedarian Scapular, also known as the Scapular of Our Lady of Mercy.

Scapular MedalThe Scapular Medal – in 1910 Pope Pius X approved the medallion form of the scapular. It bears an image of the Sacred Heart on one side, the Blessed mother on the other, and may be worn or carried in place of a cloth scapular, under certain special circumstances, by a person already invested with a scapular. These special circumstances would include situations where wearing a non-metal scapular would be impractical, say in the case of a swimmer or in doing work which could result in damage or destruction of a cloth scapular.

This article was adapted from the New Catholic Encyclopedia and theEncyclopedia of Mary.

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Everything You Need to Know About Sacred Vessels
Posted by Ian on 15 July 2015 05:02 AM

What is a Sacred Vessel?

Silver Gothic Chalice
Silver Gothic Chalice

Sacred Vessels are the receptacles and utensils used in liturgical celebrations to hold the consecrated Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, these are the Chalice, Paten, Ciborium, Pyx, and the Luna and Monstrance. The Sacred Vessels of the Church are to be treated with special care and reverence.

The chalice is the cup used to hold the Blood of Christ in the liturgy of the Eucharist and the Paten and Ciborium hold the consecrated hosts – the Body of Christ. The ciborium is typically deeper than a paten (which is the shape of a plate) and has a lid. The pyx is a small round case for safely and properly transporting the Eucharist to the sick and homebound. The monstrance with the luna is used to display the consecrated Body of Christ for Eucharistic adoration.

What Materials are Suitable for a Sacred Vessel?

Paragraph 328 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) reads, “Sacred vessels are to be made from precious metal. If they are made from metal that rusts or from a metal less precious than gold, then ordinarily they should be gilded on the inside.”

Under the guidelines given in the GIRM, precious metal is the preferred and best material to use. Chalices and patens made completely from 14kt gold may not be within the budget for many parishes, and so gold plating is acceptable. The outside may be gold or silver, but the inside (which will hold and touch the consecrated Body and Blood) should be plated (gilded) with gold.

The GIRM does allow other materials to be used, but only according the custom of a particular region:
Paragraph 329: In the Dioceses of the United States of America, sacred vessels may also be made from other solid materials that, according to the common estimation in each region, are precious, for example, ebony or other hard woods, provided that such materials are suited to sacred use and do not easily break or deteriorate. This applies to all vessels which hold the hosts, such as the paten, the ciborium, the pyx, the monstrance, and other things of this kind.
This allowance does not imply that any material may be used just because people like it; this allowance gives dioceses the permission to use materials aside from precious metals that are considered precious materials in a particular region. Precious metals with a gold interior are the traditional and preferred materials. Additionally, when another metal is used for a chalice that will hold the Precious Blood, it must be solid and nonabsorbent:
Paragraph 330: As regards chalices and other vessels that are intended to serve as receptacles for the Blood of the Lord, they are to have bowls of nonabsorbent material. The base, on the other hand, may be made of other solid and worthy materials.
As for the artistic style and design of the vessels: the design may reflect the customs of the local region, however they should be designed in a way to make it apparent that they are indeed sacred vessels for liturgical purposes, not something for casual or everyday use. That is, a missionary diocese in the Southwest may use a differently styled chalice than an old East Coast diocese, but both should look like a chalice intended for liturgical purposes and not a dinner cup.

How and by Whom are Sacred Vessels to be Cared For?

Polish Paten
Polish Paten

It has become a practice in recent decades for extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to purify the sacred vessels. However, as laid out the GIRM, the task is clearly described as a responsibility of a priest, deacon or acolyte:

Paragraph 279 of the GIRM: The sacred vessels are purified by the priest, the deacon, or an instituted acolyte after Communion or after Mass, insofar as possible at the credence table. The purification of the chalice is done with water alone or with wine and water, which is then drunk by whoever does the purification. The paten is usually wiped clean with the purificator.
In 2006 Bishop William Skylstad, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, requested an indult allowing extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to assist with the purification of sacred vessels at Mass. Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments brought the matter to Pope Benedict XVI and received a response in the negative – the indult was not granted.
The reasoning was clarified in a letter sent to the USCCB by Cardinal Arinze, who noted that his letter was also “a request to the members of the Bishops' Conference of the United Status of America to prepare the necessary explanations and catechetical materials for your clergy and people so that henceforth the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 279, as found in the editio typicatia of the Roman Missal, will be observed throughout its territories.”
The USCCB then published a document to answer specific questions regarding purification of sacred vessels:

Who then purifies the sacred vessels?

As ordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the Priest and the Deacon purify the sacred vessels. The instituted acolyte, by reason of his office, “helps the priest or deacon to purify and arrange the sacred vessels.” In the Dioceses of the United States of America, the ministry of instituted acolyte, which is open only to men, is primarily made up of those preparing to receive Holy Orders.

May an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion assist in the purification of sacred vessels?

In accord with the Holy Father’s recent decision, as reported in Cardinal Arinze’s letter … an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion may not assist in the purification of sacred vessels. This extraordinary ministry was created exclusively for those instances where there are not enough ordinary ministers to distribute Holy Communion, due to the consummate importance of assuring that the faithful have the opportunity to receive Holy Communion at Mass, even when it is distributed under both species.

What about those instances where there are many chalices and only one Priest to purify them?

When there are insufficient Priests, Deacons, or instituted acolytes to purify the additional chalices during Mass, the purification may take place immediately after the Mass has concluded. If such purification by ordinary ministers proves pastorally problematic, consideration should be given to distribution of Holy Communion by intinction or to the distribution of Holy Communion under the form of consecrated bread alone. Priests should also keep in mind potential health risks associated with intinction, especially in the coming flu season.

How to care for chalices and other metal ware.

  • Don't use abrasive chemicals or cloths.
  • Don't leave liquid, especially wine sitting in metal ware for extended periods of time. It can discolor and even rust your vessels if the gold plating isn't  thick enough or has a flaw in the coating.
  • Wash in warm water only if necessary. The intricate detail and joints on chalices and ciboria can be very hard to dry. Instead, fill the basin with warm water and rub with a cloth.
  • If the shine dulls over time, rubbing a small amount of baking soda on the metal will help restore it.
  • Keep your chalices in chalice cases to prevent damage.
  • If you have sterling or silver plated items, keep them in tarnish preventing bags to reduce the need for polishing.
  • If you need to have a vessel replated or restored, we can help! Please contact us for details.
- Information for this article is taken from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and the USCCB document Purification of Sacred Vessels. You can also read Redemptionis Sacramentum: On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist for more explanation on Sacred Vessels and other regulations regarding the Holy Eucharist.

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