QUAERITUR: how to iron purificators

From a reader:

Good Morning Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

I ordered the booklet from Angleus Press about Laundering Linens. Before I approach the head sacristan, I would like your opinion.

When folding the purificator the booklet says that the embroidered cross should face the sacred species. I am up against a very "fragile" sacristan and I want to make sure that is correct before I approach her.

I am a convert and was in an Altar Guild in the Episcopal church. I remember that the cross did face the wine, but now that I am catholic and working in another sacristy, they do it just the opposite. The cross faces up toward the priest.  I would assume that the SSP way is correct, except that I have found 2  mistakes in the booklet..starting on the front cover. The corporal is upside down in the photo. The other is the first way to fold a purificator with the cross enclosed (like a corporal). If you have the booklet, take a look.

Anyway, do you have the correct answer? I love our priest, but he isn’t much help with these sort of "technical" issues in the sacristy.

There are many things which really make a difference in how Holy Mass is celebrated.

This is not one of the major things.

I don’t have a strong opinion on this. When I iron purificators, I make sure the cross winds up on the outside of the folds so that it can be seen. I iron the folds in such a way that the cross is up when I place it on the chalice.

After that, I don’t pay much attention to it.

But if I were you, I would work this out with the sacristan and with the priest.

More important than all of this is that the purificator be absorbent.  In another entry here a few people suggested ways to launder linens so as to preserve this essential property.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Rudy of CC says:

    You are in a difficult situation. Father Z’s comment on what is important and what is necessary is correct. Pick your battles wisely. I had a similar situation with the sacristan. She is can be very controlling. I was able to get on her better side by gifting her a handbook for sacristans and an Ordo for 2009. We get along better, but I must remember that it is “not my church.”

  2. Fr Paul F says:

    We were taught in the seminary that crosses on corporals and purificators were to assist in the first washing done by the priest.

    The cross was meant to point out which side of the linens had touched the sacred species. (For corporals this is a bigger issue in the EF because the host is placed directly on it)

    This is why the purificator cross faces into the chalice so that that is the side the priest uses to purify the vessel. Also, this is why the corporal is folded so that when it is laid out the cross is directly in front of the priest.

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