QUAERITUR: veils and burses

burse, chalice veilBefore the enthusiasts of the chapel veil question get all revved up, this is about chalice veils and burses, which are designed to hold the corporal when during Mass it is not in use upon the altar.

From a reader:

Do you know where suitably appropriate burses and veils can be bought
for a good price? I want to buy some for our parish as a thank you to
our priest before I go to University.

A nice gesture.

I know that many chasubles these days are sold without veils and burses – horribile dictu.  I hope that trend is changing.   In the Ordinary Form, use of the chalice veil is not absolutely required, but it is strongly recommended, or it was in the older GIRM.  Newer, 2000 GIRM?  I didn’t find it.  I believe there is also profound symbolism in the moment of the unveiling of the chalice.  Also, in the Ordinary Form white can be used as a chalice veil on all occasions.

Also, the burse has a practical use, especially for those who believe in the Real Presence.   The corporal is traditionally folded in such a way that, when closed up again at the end of Mass, any particles of the Host that may have been missed by the priest will stay within the folds and not simply be scattered.  The burse holds the folded corporal so that it won’t unfold.

I suppose that any Catholic religious goods store, online or in non-virtual reality, would be able to help you find chalice veils and burses.  Also, veils would not be especially hard to make.

Anyone else?

UPDATE 22:57 GMT:

A commentator added this useful citation, below:

New GIRM 2000: Sorry it is late in the evening, and I cannot be bothered to look up a translation, so am using the altar Missal which is near my desk.  You will be glad to know the veil is indeed mentioned.

Caput IV : De Diversis formis Missa celebranda, part entitled Praeparanda :
Section 118, last paragraph: “Calix laudabiliter cooperiatur vela, quod potest esse aut coloris diei aut coloris alba.” So there you have it. (trans “it is good to cover the chalice with a pall, [No. Vela is “veil”, not pall.] which may match the  vestments, or white)

The earlier para of the same section also expects the chalice pall if you have one: “c) in abaco: calix, corporale, purificatorium et, pro opportunitate, palla.”  No mention is made of the Burse, so very oddly.

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24 Responses to QUAERITUR: veils and burses

  1. FrCharles says:

    How many times have I swallowed my sadness as a corporal is unfurled with flourish as if it were a beach towel. Missing the point, sometimes we are.

  2. Frank H says:

    If I am allowed to mention a name, try House of Hansen in Chicago. Our young parochial vicar recently acquired some beautiful chasubles and matching chalice veils from them. No sign of burses, yet. I’m hoping that may be next!

  3. Ben Yanke says:

    Catholic Liturgicals.com offers Burses for $10, and Veils for $10.

    If you click the links to “veils” and “burses”, scroll down and click details on then links. Each entry is a different style.

  4. Ben Yanke says:

    Yes, also check with House of Hansen.

  5. Melody says:

    Slightly off-topic, but can anyone point me to sewing patterns and/or canonical specifications for vestments? I do sewing as a hobby, and I’d like to do such a project as a way to dedicate it to God.
    Maybe even a set in black for my TLM parish?

  6. I include a burse when I am commissioned to make Roman priest vestments (a set from me includes chasuble, stole, maniple when requested, veil and burse), unless the commission is for particular items of vesture only.

  7. revs96 says:

    Catholic Liturgicals sells burses and veils cheap both individually and as a part of vestment sets. They’re from India, so they can get material cheap over there, alot cheaper than US and European dealers. Their web store is here and their eBay store is here. The stock of the eBay store is constantly rotating, whereas the web store has a more complete inventory. Most vestment sets go for US$100-200, burses for ~US$15, and chalice veils for ~US$10.

  8. JohnMa says:

    We bought them from this company for the EF at Georgetown. http://www.catholicliturgicals.com. A priest commentor from this blog is the one that first brought the company to my attention and he did all kinds of research on them .Dig in the archives to find his comment on a post a year or 2 back.

  9. Random Friar says:

    Ebay, strangely enough, is often a treasure trove for more traditional liturgical items.

  10. Centristian says:

    “I know that many chasubles these days are sold without veils and burses – horribile dictu. I hope that trend is changing.”

    It is. Many vendors of liturgical vesture are once again offering complete sets. A number are even offering Roman-style sets, complete with maniple. Some vendors that come to mind are Beau Veste (believe it or not), MDS, Veritas Polska, Chagall, Gaspard, and Theological Threads. Those are (US) domestic vendors found in most “group” catalogs. Then there are the more high-end European makers, of course, some of which seem to cater rather specifically to “reform of the reform” customers.

  11. momoften says:

    Melody, there is are blogs out there one I belong to is for church lines/vestments/ etc…very helpful if you go to churchlincns.com Elizabeth Morgan sells a LOT of patterns pretty reasonably. Also there are other places to buy vestment/ burse patterns. . . just start looking for liturgical vestments and trims. It is amazing just what is out there.

  12. MicheleQ says:

    @Melody,

    I found some online pdf booklets on vestment making at: http://www.olvrc.com/vestments.html

    I have used the instructions to make chalice veils and burses. There is also good info on vestment making.

  13. TNCath says:

    Unfortunately, most priests still do not make use of the veil and burse. I have long mourned the loss of both over the years. While it is de rigueur for the Extraordinary Form, perhaps its expanded usage will positively influence its usage in the Ordinary Form.

  14. Joe in Canada says:

    I am sorry if the new GIRM does not require the Chalice Veil. The old one, still in use in Canada, has a response at the bottom: “the chalice veil is hardly ever used. Is its use no longer required? Answer: by no means!”

  15. Mary Ann says:

    For Melody and for anyone else looking for a possible sewing project: Does your parish have a veil for the ciborium where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved?
    I replaced one. Making one requires only knowing the ‘drop’ measurement from the top of the vessel to use as a radius for the circular veil. Note how substantial the cover handle is (especially it’s width with it’s cross or other sacred symbol) to help guide you in determining the opening you will need to make at the center.
    I used two layers of fabric and heavily, but in simple gold satin stitches, embroidered by hand the outer and center edges. You could add one or more sacred designs to the sides if you wish.
    I would have done one thing differently: cut the backing satin fabric circle about a half inch smaller in diameter than the front material, easing it in as the pieces are joined. The resulting veil would have draped a bit better.
    Also to consider when deciding the exact diameter to cut out your fabric: Depending how heavily you embroider the veil, the it will ‘shrink’ related to the amount of embroidery work.

  16. Mary Ann says:

    Just found this:

    http://www.catholic-christian-home-school-saint-prayer-book-gift-store.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1417

    How to Make Vestments

    $26.95

    How to Make Vestments by Noel MacDonald Wilby & Elizabeth Carr London: Burns Oates & Washbourne LTD, 1936. Spiral Xerographic Reprint.

    “The present little guide is a practical handbook for Catholic needlewomen strictly in accordance with the laws of the Church regarding Vestments. Her absolute laws on this subject are comparatively few, but very definite. Directions are given for making the simplest forms of Gothic and Roman styles; individual requirements can be built up from the directions here given for making the essentials of Catholic worship as regards needlework. This book may, it is hoped, enable any reader who can use a needle neatly devote her spare time to the highest employment possible to the Catholic needlewoman. 82pp.”

    Table of Contents:
    Introduction
    Descriptive List of Vestments
    Descriptive List of Altar Linens
    The Antependium
    The Tabernacle Veilings
    The Other Veilings
    The Liturgical Colors
    Materials
    Methods of Decorations

    How to Make:
    A Roman Preaching Stole
    A Gothic Preaching Stole
    An Administration Stole
    A Broad Stole
    A Burse
    A Humeral Veil
    A Cope
    A Low Mass Set–Roman
    A Low Mass Set–Gothic
    A Dalmatic and Tunicle
    Ecclesiatical Embroidery

    Altar Lace Linen:
    How to Make:
    An Amice
    An Alb
    A Priest’s Cotta
    A Servier’s Cotta

    Altar Linen:
    How to Make:
    A Corporal
    A Pall
    A Purificator
    A Lavabo Towel
    Altar Cloths
    A Credence Cloth

    Veilings:
    How to Make:
    An Antependium
    A Tabernacle Veil
    A Ciborium Veil
    A Monstrance Veil
    An Exposition Voelum
    A Maundy Thursday Chalice Veil
    A Pyx Bag
    An Altar Cover
    The Lenten Veilings
    Banners.

  17. Josephus Muris Saliensis says:

    New GIRM 2000: Sorry it is late in the evening, and I cannot be bothered to look up a translation, so am using the altar Missal which is near my desk. You will be glad to know the veil is indeed mentioned.

    Caput IV : De Diversis formis Missa celebranda, part entitled Praeparanda :
    Section 118, last paragraph: “Calix laudabiliter cooperiatur vela, quod potest esse aut coloris diei aut coloris alba.” So there you have it. (trans “it is good to cover the chalice with a pall, which may match the vestments, or white) [Opps. Latin “vela” means “veil”, not pall. This is “It is praiseworthy that the chalice be covered with a veil, which can be either of the color of the day or white in color.”]

    The earlier para of the same section also expects the chalice pall [yes, here it is “pall”] if you have one: “c) in abaco: calix, corporale, purificatorium et, pro opportunitate, palla.” No mention is made of the Burse, so very oddly.

  18. James Joseph says:

    Mary is the Ciborium of Christ and she wore a veil.

  19. momoften says:

    There are many books available yes, but to have a full size pattern in hand, is also useful. There are also a number of older books available also on the website I mentioned. Not to mention, the owner of the business has responded to any questions I have had when working with vestments, and suppliers.For me it was very useful to go to experienced people when starting to sew/repair vestments as the liturgical fabrics and trims are by far very expensive to make errors on to replace sew. They are usually happy to share suppliers, and ideas generously with people who are interested.

  20. Look, I know it’s a devotional thing, but from that kind of reasoning springs madness. Do you really intend people to start to outfit their ciboriums with little Mary outfits, complete with dress, sandals, cloak, and pregnant Jewish housewife accessory set? I mean, as a sculpture like that one in Chicago, maybe. As a sort of liturgical Barbie, or babushka doll substitute for the Infant of Prague, maybe not.

    Tabernacle veil = Tabernacle/Temple curtain. You don’t need to say more.

  21. cstei says:

    I must say that I ordered an entire set of Roman Chasubles as a gift to my Parish. They are cheap and for the most part the workmanship is good. However, I had a problem with some defects and it was like pulling teeth to get them at answer an email about the issue. After a month I had to send a not too nice email to finally get them to to replace what was defective. I won’t recommend them.

  22. cstei says:

    I forgot to say I ordered them from Catholic Liturgicals sorry.

  23. BLB Oregon says:

    Elizabeth Morgan at churchlinens.com also has a page devoted to people she knows who do custom work, Nancy Marie Marquette and Elizabeth Smith: http://www.churchlinens.com/special-interest.html

    She sells copies of classic out-of-print books about vestment making, too, as well as fabrics suitable for making vestments and fine linens and her own booklets and tools for making vestments and altar linens.

    If you are looking for patterns for ecclesiastical embroidery work, Elizabeth has a big book, a traditional catalog of patterns. I also know a needlepoint web site that has some nice patterns: http://www.needlenthread.com/2006/06/ecclesiastical-church-embroidery.html

    Mary Corbet at Needle n’ Thread (above) also has some close-up photography of some very beautiful and rare ecclesiastical embroidery, such as: http://www.needlenthread.com/2009/07/ecclesiastical-embroidery-comparison-of.html
    http://www.needlenthread.com/2007/02/goldwork-up-close-photos-of-magnificent.html

    The good news, though, is that computer-driven machines have meant that the quality of machine embroidery has gotten much better, and the price has come down. This also brings down the price of custom vestments and altar linens.

  24. misternaser says:

    A slightly related question:

    Is there proper etiquette when donating liturgical items to our priest or parish? Should I ask my priest if my gift is needed or if it would be accepted? I ask because I want to give a new missal to our church (Magnificat is producing a very beautiful one) in hopes that if Father is surrounded with beautiful liturgical appointments, he will be inspired to celebrate Mass more reverently.