QUAERITUR: Can EMHCs purify sacred vessels after Holy Communion?

From a reader:

I moved to a new parish about month ago, and while I didn’t register (I usually move every few months for work), I do contribute monetarily. I’m unsure if I’m even in a position to raise a concern.

This parish has reverent Masses, but there is an odd practice I’m not used to seeing- the EMHC’s purifying the Sacred Vessels after Mass and consuming the remaining Precious Blood.

I didn’t think it was my business to meddle into how the priest runs his parish, but the last couple of weeks have made me re-think that.

Two weeks ago I was praying after Mass had ended, and I was startled by a loud metal crashing sound coming from the side table below the Sanctuary steps. I looked up, and one of the EMHC’s had dropped either the priest’s chalice, or one of the common chalices. I was bothered by it, but didn’t do anything.

Then this weekend, I was sitting in the pews somewhat close to the table praying after Mass, but I got distracted by all the EMHC’s. They were huddled around the table, and while they were consuming the remainder of the Precious Blood, they were visiting with each other.

When you are not formally a member of a parish, it is harder to intervene in these matters.

However, I think it is within your rights to express your concerns, kindly and respectfully, to the pastor.

In Redemptionis Sacramentum we read:

6. Complaints Regarding Abuses in Liturgical Matters

[183.] In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism.

[184.] Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.

While this says “the diocesan bishop”, I would start with the pastor.  Very calmly express your observations and concerns.

Redemptionis Sacramentum 119 points out that, after the priest and deacon, the duly instituted acolyte purifies vessels, not someone who substitutes for the acolyte.

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion do not… not… have permission in the USA to purify sacred vessels.  This permission was explicitly denied by the Holy See.  It had earlier been permitted, but the permission was not renewed. NB: The Pope himself got involved with this one.

It is therefore a serious liturgical abuse for EMCH’s to purify.  It may be that the pastor of the parish is not aware of this.

Here is the text of the letter from the Holy See explanation the situation to the USCCB:

CONGREGATIO CULTO DIVINO ET DISCIPLINA SACRAMENTORUM

Prot. n. 468/05/L Rome, 12 October 2006

Your Excellency,

I refer to your letters of 9 March 2005 and 7 March 2006, in which, in the name of the Conference of Bishops of which you are President, you requested a renewal of the indult for extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to purify the sacred vessels after Mass, where there are not enough priests or deacons to purify a large number of chalices that might be used at Mass.

I have put the whole matter before the Holy Father in an audience which he granted me on 9 June 2006, and received instructions to reply as follows:

1. There is no doubt that “the sign of Communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 281; Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 390).

2. Sometimes, however, the high number of communicants may render it inadvisable for everyone to drink from the chalice (cf. Redemptionis Sacramentum, no. 102). Intinction with reception on the tongue always and everywhere remains a legitimate option, by virtue of the general liturgical law of the Roman Rite.

3. Catechesis of the people is important regarding the teaching of the Council of Trent that Christ is fully present under each of the species. Communion under the species of the bread alone, as a consequence, makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace (cf. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, no. 1729; General Instruction of the Roman Missal, nos. 11, 282). “For pastoral reasons”, therefore, “this manner of receiving Communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin rite” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1390).

4. Paragraph 279 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal directs that the sacred vessels are to be purified by the priest, the deacon or an instituted acolyte. The status of this text as legislation has recently been clarified by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. It does not seem feasible, therefore, for the Congregation to grant the requested indult from this directive in the general law of the Latin Church.

5. This letter is therefore 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.

With the expression of my esteem and fraternal greetings, I remain, Your Excellency,
Devotedly yours in Christ,

+ Francis Cardinal Arinze
Prefect

Monsignor Mario Marini
Under-Secretary

So, in the parish, the only vessels that EMCH’s who are not actually instituted acolytes should be purifying are their mugs during in the parish hall when they have finished their…

[CUE MUSIC]

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That’s right, when all those pants suits charge the altar and all those unconsecrated hands start smearing the remains of lipstick around on those sacred vessels, just remember that in a little while you too will be able to unclench with the help of those traditional Carmelites in Wyoming and their Mystic Monk Coffee!

And since it is warm during the summer, and cool drinks are needed to cool off your anger, perhaps you should try something I just noticed in their mystical monkish inventory.

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Iced Coffee is sooo refreshing, isn’t it?   And you can have some and support the Carmelites as they build their monastery.

Does it get better than that?  No!  Of course not.

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And don’t forget their great TEA.

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It’s swell!

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40 Responses to QUAERITUR: Can EMHCs purify sacred vessels after Holy Communion?

  1. Sadly, the Holy See’s clarification was not well-publicized – or not widely read – and the practice continues in many parishes. A lot of us priests were trained to the opposite: that EMHCs should be encouraged to purify the vessels for us. I wasn’t clued into the proper practice until my second year of priest. A gentle question with a reference to the 2006 letter above could go a long way.

  2. theloveofwisdome says:

    Father,

    I am an altar server at a Novus Ordo mass. While there, I notice that the vessels do NOT get sufficiently purified. After distribution of communion, a feeble attempt to purify the vessels is made by the priest, but it is always lacking. After mass, I will take the vessels used which have been put in the sacristy, and purify them again myself and OFTEN find many fragments of Eucharist floating around in the vessels after adding water. These vessels get put in a safe after mass, by me, that is, after I purify them again. I Have spoken to the priest about this several times, and to the EMCH, but to no avail. If I do not purify the vessels, they will not get purified sufficiently and it breaks my heart that the safe they are stored in effectively becomes a tabernacle, but everyone walks by ignoring our Lord and there is no lamp there to indicate that our Lord is present. Should I discontinue purifying the vessels after mass?

  3. theloveofwisdome says:

    *re-purying the vessels that is… ?

  4. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Our Archbishop (H.E. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M.Cap.) sent out a directive to parishes to remind one and all that the laity are not to purify vessels post-communion. IIRC that occurred in the spring of 2010. That directive has been observed at the Masses I’ve attended.

  5. TNCath says:

    Our bishop sent out the directive, but in a” wink-wink, nod-nod” fashion said that pastors needed to use their own”pastoral discretion” in how to carry out these directives. Hence the abuse continues.

  6. JimmyA says:

    I believe it occurs at Westminster Cathedral.

  7. Sandy says:

    In the letter from the Holy See to the USCCB, number 1. is disturbing, calling it a “Eucharist MEAL” and saying that to receive under both species is somehow more complete. I realize that there’s a quote from the GIRM, but good grief! No wonder people are misled and uninformed with this kind of wording!

  8. cursormundi says:

    Oh Fr Z you are a wag! …”the only vessels that EMCH’s who are not actually instituted acolytes should be purifying are their mugs during in the parish hall when they have finished their…”
    LOLs!
    Brian (a very recently Institued Acolyte.)

  9. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    I’m wondering: Is an altar server in today’s novus ordo masses an instituted acolyte? If yes, then if I was to become an altar server again, and then sign up to be an EMHC, would I be validly allowed to purify the vessels? BTW if you haven’t seen above I’m from Canada, so I’m not sure what the CCCB’s rules on this topic are.

  10. APX says:

    The EMHC’s purifying the sacred vessels is a common practice here, even when there’s more than one priest, but I’m in Canada so we may or may not have permission to do so. I can’t remember the last OF Mass I went to in which the priest actually purified the sacred vessels after communion.

  11. MichaelJ says:

    Sandy, good catch. If Christ is fully present under each of the species, and He is, how is it that “the sign of Communion is more complete when given under both kinds”?

  12. everett says:

    In response to Young Canadian RC Male, altar servers are very, very rarely instituted as acolytes. Institution as an acolyte has a particular rite involved and is normally done by the Bishop.

  13. benedetta says:

    I like the Monks’ iced tea and of course the coffee and in winter I will drink their tea hot. But now you want me to ice my coffee? I’m sorry Fr. Z that is just going way too far. I do not do extreme things such as that with coffee and I don’t mind saying so. Others should feel most free to go ahead and ice their coffee without having to risk being branded a beverage extremist by the likes of me though. And no, something like coffee flavored gelato does not interest me either. Nor green tea gelato. Although red bean flavor is very good.

  14. “The sign is more complete” means “the visuals are more like the Last Supper and what the priest does”. It’s not heretical or anything, and it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s just at the “if you’ve got a chance, it’s probably better to use red wine rather than rose or white for Mass” level of concern.

  15. xgenerationcatholic says:

    Dear. I didn’t know that. I was an em at grad school – signed up so could take bs to nh res. I purified like everyone else did.

  16. ejcmartin says:

    I was recently at a information session on the new Missal in my archdiocese. This issue was the number one question. Out of 10 or so questions four, all made by women, involved whether or not EMHC could purify the chalice. No concern about kneeling, music, the language or anything like that just whether women can purify the chalice.

  17. David2 says:

    Young Candadian RC Male:

    I’m wondering: Is an altar server in today’s novus ordo masses an instituted acolyte?

    Not unless they have been formally instituted as such.

    The instituted ministry of acolyte is reserved to men (however, it is not reserved to those pursuing Holy Orders). Nonetheless, the duties of the acolyte may be filled, by temporary assignment, by any lay person (men and women). The term altar server is generally used to refer to these temporarily deputized individuals, to differentiate them from those in the instituted ministry (who are most commonly men who intend on entering Holy Orders).

    “The ministry of acolyte, alongside that of instituted lector, is an instituted ministry of the Church. These ministries replaced the former minor orders (porter, lector, exorcist and acolyte) and the order of subdeacon. These minor orders were reserved to seminarians but rarely — or in the case of exorcist, never — exercised. Rather, they served as different stages leading up to the reception of major orders.

    Pope Paul VI abolished the minor orders and the order of subdeacon in 1973 and replaced them with the two ministries of lector and acolyte.

    All seminarians and candidates for the permanent diaconate receive these ministries before ordination to the diaconate, usually during the period of theological studies.

    These ministries, however, are no longer reserved to seminarians, but in virtue of their connection to priestly formation, may only be received by laymen.

    The rite of instituting a lector or acolyte is usually reserved to the bishop or to a major superior in the case of members of religious congregations.

    Their functions are superficially similar to those of an altar server during Mass but with the important difference that when he exercises his ministry the acolyte is acting as a minister of the Church.

    His functions are also broader; he must be chosen first whenever an extraordinary minister is required to either give out communion or expose the Blessed Sacrament.

    In the absence of a deacon an instituted acolyte may also purify the sacred vessels, an action which is usually not permitted to extraordinary ministers.

    Because a period of specific liturgical training is required before institution the acolyte is often responsible for training and organizing other altar servers.

    This ministry, although open to many adult laymen, has been used in relatively few dioceses as a stable institution.”

  18. Speravi says:

    What does this suggest for how extraordinary ministers to the home-bound should carry out their work (whether they should have this work is a separate question)? Should they return their pyx to the tabernacle to await purification?

  19. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    David2 and everett, hmmm, Okay, so I think that the answer by your responses is that “NO. Altar server does not = acolyte”. However they can be instituted as well as a lector. Okay now I’m a little not sure of things, because, I also happen to be a lector, but I’m not inistuted? So I’d have to get a bishop to do some special ceremony/liturgical rite to make me instituted??? sigh. Why couldn’t there be a written instruction on all this outlining everything clearly what a layperson has to do?

  20. hicks says:

    Thankfully, my current parish is apparently one of the last in America to still employ a communion rail and so we completely skip all this business.

  21. cursormundi says:

    Dear Young Canadian RC Male

    Sigh not!

    Have a good read of this document:

    http://www.liturgyoffice.org.uk/Resources/GIRM/Documents/GIRM.pdf

    Note carefully and calmly the difference between INSTITUTED lectors and acolytes and COMMISSIONED lectors and acolytes. I am an Instituted Lector and an Instituted Acolyte. This is because I am in formation for ordination as a permanent deacon. In principle only seminarians and candidates for Holy Orders are INSTITUTED. The Institution Rites are presided over by a bishop. However, we still need people to read at Holy Mass and serve at Holy Mass, because few parishes will have members amongst them preparing for Holy Orders, so Holy Mother Church COMMISSIONS persons who are not preparing for Holy Orders to read and serve at Mass. The COMMISSIONING is presided over by your parish priest (paastor.) I am also married with children! How a man who is married with kids can become ordained will really make you need a nice cup of that Mystic Monk coffee!!! So relax, chill, drink up……. and read my blog……and that GIRM thing…….;-)

    Brian

  22. Volanges says:

    Young Canadian RC Male: Canon 230 says §1. Lay men who possess the age and qualifications established by decree of the conference of bishops can be admitted on a stable basis through the prescribed liturgical rite to the ministries of lector and acolyte.

    The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has decreed that only those men who are studying for the priesthood or permanent diaconate will be instituted to those ministries, so unless you are preparing for ordination you will not become either instituted acolyte or instituted lector.

    Where purification is concerned, the Pastor we had when Redemptionis Sacramentum was promulgated immediately stopped EMHCs from purifying and did it himself. The next Pastor categorically refused to do so and ordered the EMHCs to resume doing it. He claimed that our bishop had not promulgated RS in our diocese therefore nothing in it applied to us. It was true that the only way that RS had made its way to our parish shelves had been my downloading of it from the Vatican website on the day it was published and handing it to the Pastor — there has never been any mention of this document from the diocese. Our present Pastor also has the EMHCs purify — but then he has also said that it is their ‘right’ to exercise their ministry whether or not it’s needed, Immensae Caritatis, Inaestimabile Donum & Ecclesiae de Mysterio notwithstanding.

  23. Volanges says:

    cursormundi says:
    I am an Instituted Lector and an Instituted Acolyte. This is because I am in formation for ordination as a permanent deacon. In principle only seminarians and candidates for Holy Orders are INSTITUTED.
    =========
    While the Canadian and possibly the England and Wales Conferences have decreed that, the Church does not limit those instituted ministries to men studying for ordination. In the US there are dioceses that institute men as permanent Instituted Lector or Instituted Acolyte.

  24. cursormundi says:

    Yes, well said, Volanges. Thanks for that.

  25. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Thanks everyone for the clarifications. I’ll have to read the GIRM for a bit, but I now get it:
    Acolyte does not = N.O. altar server.
    I would be a COMISSIONED lector (and I did get asked during a Mass last fall to come close to the steps before the altar and receive a blessing and say “yes” to a number of things similar to renewing my baptismal promises) and I would be a COMISSIONED altar server/acolyte if I resumed serving.

    Only last note is what Volanges says is interesting. I think I’ll try to reach one of the bishops’ offices and ask if they insitute laypeople in my diocese or not.

  26. KAS says:

    This is familiar to me too. Our cry room is behind glass where you can see everything at the altar– nice for us with little ones who are not yet up to attending mass without screaming.

    And every mass the extraordinary ministers of holy communion do the work of the deacon just as this person described. Right on the other side of the glass from me.

    Everyone I know who has ever written our bishop says the same thing– never a response, it is like tossing the letter down a well.

    Most of the more orthodox Catholics I know are just getting discouraged, no matter what our efforts, they are pointless, nothing changes, new Bishop, no difference. Same old same old.

    I stay for the Eucharist, for the documents and encyclicals, but I sure don’t stick around because of the orthodox teaching and example of our Bishops. Gay Mass in boston, anti home school letter in Austin, silence from the Bishops as a group on gay marriage, no demands that citizens be given their right to a secure border, no demands that immigrants and aliens honor the traditions and laws of the country they are in, nope, I sure don’t stay due to any of the human elements.

    After all, our bishops do LOTS for my anti-Catholic fundi relatives to use to beat me over the head. Oh, I SO appreciate our bishops spineless actions (yes, sarcasm).

    It shouldn’t be a big deal that a Bishop like Archbishop Chaput stands firm and speaks out– it should be the NORM but it is not the norm, it is the extreme exception.

    I spent the past 15 years vocally defending our Bishops when people around me complained but I’m done. I’ll keep praying for them, but until they start ACTING like who they are, I sure am not wasting another breath defending them. It took 15 years but the majority of bishops have totally lost my respect.

  27. tealady24 says:

    I received my email from the monks this morning and ordered the Iced Coffee too! I’m getting the Cowboy Blend too; because who doesn’t love the Old West movies?
    As a former Eucharisitic Minister, I always felt funny handling the chalices and even ascending to the tabernacle; it just wasn’t my place, I knew. Any irreverence should be reported to the bishop.

  28. MichaelJ says:

    Suburbanbanshee,
    You are correct, of course. I am also certain that no Catholics will ever read Congregato Culto Divino Et Disciplina Sacramentorum or the GIRM which it references and conclude anything other than it is just a visually esthetic suggestion. Never again will the faithful come to believe in the heresy addressed by the Council of Trent. The’ll never believe that their Communion is incomplete if they receive under only one Species. Whew. I was worried there for a minute.

  29. Re: purification, the nuclear option is to complain that priests and deacons think they’re too good to do the sacred dishes (even though it’s a job of huge importance), and are therefore making women and laymen do it. But you’d have to be careful how you said it to avoid disrespect for clergy one way and outright blasphemy the other.

    MichaelJ: Didn’t say whether or not I thought it was prudent or necessary (in our Latin Rite, anyway). Just said whether or not it was heretical.

    Probably it’s not a bad idea, every once in a while and with proper catechetical accompaniments, to do what is allowed but not usually done. (Heck, probably somewhere there’s an beautiful explanation of the symbolism of various hues of wine at the offertory, that would make white wine sound like an awesome option for Communion; and probably in white wine areas, they know what it is.) But yeah, over the last generation we’ve done tons and tons of imprudent stuff all the time, so yeah, it would be nice to get back to normal.

  30. John Nolan says:

    “The moving waters at their priestlike task/Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores” – and Keats wasn’t even a Christian, let alone a Catholic. There’s a prayer to go with the purification of the chalice, the Quod Ore Sumpsimus, and the Ablutions are a liturgical act.

    There’s a cathedral I know which brought in Communion in both kinds to give the EMHC something to do; four extra chalices are consecrated, but the take-up is less than fifty percent and a lot of the Precious Blood is left to be consumed after Mass. I fear some of the poor dears might not be fit to drive home, and I doubt whether the transubstantiation defence would hold up in an English court.

  31. MarkH says:

    After the 2006 letter was issued, our Archbishop (San Antonio) Gomez put out a letter allowing his priests to delegate the purification. Not sure if that is in accord with the Vatican letter denying the indult? It seems to be a middle ground, giving more flexibility in purification, but only by a very limited set of specific, dedicated individuals, not the EMHC horde in toto.

  32. APX says:

    @John Nolan
    “I fear some of the poor dears might not be fit to drive home, and I doubt whether the transubstantiation defence would hold up in an English court.”

    No it wouldn’t, at least not in Canadian Court. I thought about this a few years ago during one of my Traffic Enforcement classes in college, so I asked my instructor. I had to explain transubstantiation to him, but based on what I told him, because the alcohol content remains, it doesn’t matter if it’s wine, mouthwash, hand sanitizer, or the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

    That could be another good reason not to have EMHCs purifying the sacred vessels. While depending on where you live, you might not have to worry about Sunday morning DUI checkstops, I know I’ve been pulled over on my way home from Saturday Evening Mass. The alcohol from gargling mouthwash and spitting it out, stays on your breath for about 20-30 minutes afterwards and will cause a false reading on both roadside screening devices and breathalyzers (We tested this in class). The same is true for the small amount of wine consumed at Mass. While you won’t get charged, think of the headache of having to deal with that on your way home from Church.

  33. Volanges says:

    @APX, considering that they’ve already received Communion and then consumed the Precious Blood that remains in their chalice (which they are allowed to do), purifying would help rather than worsen the alcohol on the breath since they would be drinking primarily water. Since they aren’t allowed to purify vessels, the point is moot.

  34. Mary M. says:

    I thought I would be able to have some meaningful dialogue on this blog but it appears my assessment was incorrect [You can get out of it what you put into it.] so I will not be participating. To be honest, I have never witnessed such arrogance and condescending comments from so many. It’s clear that Fr. Z does not want to commit himself to it’s “o.k.” for my Deacon husband to distribute the Eucharist. [Fr. Z has been very busy.] I frankly don’t understand how anyone can decide what is acceptable and what is not and override the Church’s directives. A Deacon is an Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist! Frankly, if the kind of un Christian attitude that has been exhibited on this blog were the rule rather than the exception the Church would be in serious trouble. Lest you read something into my comments that could be misinterpreted, I’d like to make clear that both my husband and I are faithful to the teachings of the Church and in no way have our agenda. [You are welcome to participate here, but feel free not to if you are uncomfortable.]

  35. MichaelJ says:

    Mary,
    I’m a bit bewildered by your most recent post. There is universal agreement that “A Deacon is an Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist”. Nobody has asserted otherwise.

    The only objection I recall was to the title you chose for yourself. I am sure you were unaware of this, but identifying your role as anything other than “Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion” is contrary to the teachings of the Church. I am also sure that now that you know this, you will cease using an “alternate” title, but I get the sense that I missed something. What was it? [Many people who serve has Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (the proper title) have for a long time in their parishes been called “E.M. of the Eucharist” or “Eucharistic Ministers”. It is hardly their fault, in most cases, if they apply to themselves the wrong term. For our part we can repeat patiently the proper title without supposing any intended bending of lay/clerical identity.]

  36. Mary M. says:

    Here’s a comment to my original post – “And, Fr. Z., while fisking Mary M.’s comment, you fail to address her concern about people refusing to receive from the Deacon. Deacons are absolutely Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Where’s the catechism there?” I followed up with
    another post to which there was no response from Fr. Z. And, finally, in response to my most recent post I received this “[You can get out of it what you put into it.] Is this kind of response really necessary? Who is responding to these posts; is it Fr. Z or someone else in his absence.

  37. APX says:

    @Volanges

    I’ve never actually seen EMHCs use water when they do this during Mass. They just drink what’s remaining and then wipe them out with the purificator and leave them on the side table. The patens are emptied into the ciborium, and then stacked on the credence table as well.

    I know when the priest used to do it, after he drank what was remaining, he used the purificator to wipe the crumbs from the patens into the Chalice, and then went with his thumb to get the little crumbs and consumed them off his thumb. After, he added water and while gently swishing it around quietly muttered something and then consumed the water. Finally, he wiped the Chalice out with the purificator before it went onto the credence table. (FYI: Growing up I used to watch in awe as the priest purified the vessels, as he was quite meticulous about it. It saddens me this is no longer done at Masses.)

  38. APX says:

    Wait a minute…after re-re-reading what I wrote, it just dawned on me; isn’t the priest purifying the vessels in a way another ritual that concludes the rituals of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass??? If so, this would make the idea of EMHC’s purifying the vessels seem ludicrous. Maybe I’m just being over-analytical about this, but it just seems wrong wrong wrong.

  39. Andy Milam says:

    Amazing…I was having this conversation about 2 months ago (May 26, to be exact)…and it seems that Fr. Z and I are lockstep in this….

    I said, “The wiping of the vessels is part of the purifying process.

    Unless he is an installed acolyte, by the bishop, as an official ministry of the Church, or higher (ie. deacon or priest), he is not allowed to do that. [ Helen Hull Hitchcock’s 2006 article] speaks about extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, but that extends to anyone serving on the altar. This has been in place since 2006, so either your pastor is unaware, or willfully disobedient. That is not for me to decide, but those are the only two options in this case…[so] you’re wrong…he is not entitled to that function. The purifying of vessels is not allowed for laymen. They cannot purify. The most an altar server can do is transport the ALREADY purified vessel to the credence, if so determined.

    The article I cite is clear. The letter from Bishop Skylstad is clear. The GIRM #163 [and #279] is even clearer. Redemptoris Sacramentum is clear. The Church is clear. Laymen cannot purify.”

    I have learned a lot from Fr. Z over the years…this is one of them…

  40. Volanges says:

    @APX, if they aren’t rinsing them before wiping them they haven’t even been taught how to purify the vessels properly — even if they have no business doing it in the first place. Before R.S., I had trained the EMCHs how to properly purify the vessels with water (they purify both the chalice & the paten), drinking it and making sure that any particle is consumed. At least they’re doing the purifying correctly even if they’re not supposed to be doing it at all. I only hope the incoming pastor changes things.