QUAERITUR: reconsecrating, restoring a chalice

From a reader:

Many years ago, a chalice was donated to the parish of my grandfather as a memorial after his death. After several years, my grandmother received a call from the pastor stating that they were cleaning house in the sacristy and that if she did not take possession of the chalice it would be given to the diocesan reclamations office.  She took possession of the chalice and kept it in her home. Unfortunately, it was later subject to improper handling by the family as well as profanation. After her passing it has come into my possession where it is locked in a safe until proper arrangements can be made.  Personally, I would like to give the chalice to a friend of mine who will be ordained to the priesthood this coming May, however, I would not want to give it to him unless proper reparation could be made.  Can a chalice be re-consecrated? Is there another means for dealing with these unfortunate circumstances? Any direction you can give is most appreciated.

That sounds like a good plan for that chalice.

I suggest that you have it cleaned and restored, if repair are necessary.  Sometimes the cup of the chalice needs to be re-gilded.

Then you can simply give him the chalice, telling him that it needs to be reconsecrated.  At that point the ordinandus can handle the situation himself.   He can approach a bishop and have it consecrated or, the less desirable solution, assume that it is consecrated after its first use at Holy Mass.

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  1. Fr. Basil says:

    Somewhere in the USA is a jewellery shop, run by a Russian Orthodox Subdeacon, that specializes in the repair of altar ware.

    He asked for ordination to the Subdiaconate specifically so he could handle and repair sacred vessels.

  2. richmondtom says:

    Ooops… at St. Josephs in Richmond, Virginia (an EF-only parish), our Knights council rescued a beautiful chalice from an antique dealer, I had it repaired, cleaned, and inscribed (Richmond has an excellent small plate-craft shop)… and presented it to the parish last Christmas, but we didn’t think to have it reconsecrated. I suppose Fr. is correct that celebration of Mass using the chalice is a type of consecration.

  3. There are two options. One is to ask a bishop to consecrate the chalice (using Chrism and the old Roman Ritual). The other is to have the priest himself bless the chalice at Mass during the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory (using the prayer contained in the back of the Sacramentary). IF the former is done, then some documentation (even the size of a business card) should be attached inside the chalice CASE indicating the date and name of bishop who consecrated it. If the latter is done, nothing else need be done. While the chalice will certainly be blessed by usage merely by contact with the Precious Blood. still better to have a bishop consecrate it OR have a priest bless it. Similarly, it is good to have vestments blessed and anything else directly used in the sacred liturgy for divine worship (a.k.a., Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.)

  4. Kaneohe says:

    I also happen to have a rescued chalice. It appears to the of Chinese origins. The body of the chalice is white enamel with a cloissone design of Catholic sacred symbols. There are raised Chinese (?) characters on the bottom of the chalice’s base. The cup itself is gold metal (needs regilding) with an overlay of metal tracery (silver?) It obviously needs repair. No parish here is interested – it’s too “old fashioned ” for their taste.

    Do you think a company that fabricates sacred vessels would be willing to take it? I know some of these companies have museums – at least it would be restored and kept safe.

    I also have a rescued altar stone. What should I do with this? I feel it should not just be here in my home but should be either in an altar or held in some church repository for relics.

    Any info and recommendations about what I should do with the chalice and the altar stone would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Fr. Basil says:

    If wondering what to do with rescued chalices and such, why not ask the missions department of the diocese or other Church missionary society?

    There are also vestment exchanges that see these will be put to good use.

  6. black biretta: Good reminder. Vestments should also be blessed, as well as altar linens.

  7. Joseph says:

    On a somewhat related note: I “rescued” a pew and a large holy water container (the kind with a spigot). What are my obligations in regard to these church furnishings? Is it permissible to use them at home in a prayerful way? Is it permissible to use them at home in purely secular fashion, for instance in a decorative manner (e.g. the pew as a bench)?

    Thank you to anyone who can shed some light on this for me!

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