“Thanks for your blog. It saved this seminarian from a particularly mortifying purification.”

From a seminarian:

Just wanted to say a big “Thanks” for your blog. I was sure glad for the liturgical minutiae I’ve picked up here when I found a fly in the Precious Blood tonight after Mass. Your advice about skewering the fly with a pin and then burning it saved this seminarian from a particularly mortifying purification of the vessels.

My work here is done.

Yet another reason to wear a pin-on maniple.

Fathers! Just “tie one one”!

I have written about what to do when critters get into the chalice. HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    And I though you just have the deacon consume what remains! ;-))

  2. Elizabeth D says:

    Is he a duly instituted acolyte? There is a compilation of GIRM instructions pertaining to instituted acolytes here: http://www.diakonoskorner.org/Resources/Files/GIRM_Acolyte.pdf . Instituted acolytes are the only laity allowed to do the purification, and might assist with this if there is no deacon present. The purification should be after Communion, the GIRM says care must be taken that whatever remains of the Precious Blood is consumed immediately and completely at the altar (during Mass). The purification could be after Mass if it is not practically possible during Mass for some reason, the omission of the purification during Mass sometimes causes true anxiety to some of us laity about whether the Precious Blood will get poured down the sacrarium or something if the sacred vessels are taken away into the sacristy unpurified, the GIRM does say this purification should be “at the credence table, insofar as possible”. The GIRM does mention the need to have the vessels “suitably covered on a corporal” if they will be purified after Mass. The pall needs to be used.

    Laity who are not duly instituted acolytes are not permitted to purify the vessels. My previous parish had this practice under a previous pastor (college students would purify the vessels after Mass in the sacristy). As I recall it, the pastor wrote to Rome requesting permission from the CDWDS to continue this practice, and permission was denied.

  3. One of my favorite saint stories is the one about St. Conrad and the spider in the chalice. A spider dropped into the chalice during Mass. St. Conrad believed all spiders were poisonous, and that he would die of ingesting the spider; nevertheless, he drained the chalice, spider and all. Of course it didn’t kill him.

  4. pseudomodo says:

    Forgive me for asking, but, why was there precious blood AFTER mass? Does he mean after communion? Why was the chalice not covered?

    Just asking..

  5. MarkG says:

    Today’s word:
    A flabellum (plural flabella), in Christian liturgical use, is a fan made of metal, leather, silk, parchment or feathers, intended to keep away insects from the consecrated Body and Blood of Christ and from the priest,[1] as well as to show honour. …
    The Apostolic Constitutions, a work of the fourth century, state (VIII, 12): “Let two of the deacons, on each side of the altar, hold a fan, made up of thin membranes, or of the feathers of the peacock, or of fine cloth, and let them silently drive away the small animals that fly about, that they may not come near to the cups”.

  6. When the correspondent refers to “after Mass,” it occurs to me it might have been a few drops of the Precious Blood in the chalice; and it was set aside for purification after Mass, which is licit.

    If that be the case, it seems to me that the remainder need not be consumed in any case, since presumably what remains is a tiny amount, after someone else had attempted to consume what could be. In that case, the person purifying the chalice can add water and pour that water — plus fly — down the sacrarium.

  7. Phil_NL says:


    I think the chance of small particles being blown away – which would require very little airflow, with modern hosts – would actually be worse than the odd insect flying close. At least nowadays, I reckon that they had a lot more flies around in the 4th century….

  8. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    GIRM #118c (in the section concerning articles to be prepared for Mass): “On the credence table: the chalice, a corporal, a purificatory, and, if appropriate, the pall; […]” “If appropriate” ? Does this mean that the use of the pall is optional? (Elsewhere the GIRM seems to presuppose its use.) When would it not be “appropriate”?

  9. Matt R says:

    Fr. Kocik, as I am sure you know, for the past 35 or so years, its use has been not only optional, but almost non-existent. I agree entirely with your line of thought. There is never a time to avoid using the pall. The same is true for the amice. Those two items plus an alb and cincture should always travel with a priest. Everything else can be supplied, but the first two might not be there and the latter are personal (actually, so is an amice). And always pack an extra amice! You never know when Cardinal Burke might need one! That happened to a priest friend of a friend. In my experience, the pall and the amice are more and more common, even among clergy who are old enough to have gone without them for their entire priesthood.

  10. Imrahil says:

    Around here, amice and cincture never were out of fashion. The maniple very much so, though.

    Dear Fr Fox, in my understanding as long as not everything of the Precious Blood is consumed (in intention; I do not speak of invisible particles), it is to be mixed up with water and the purifier has to drink the water. I might be wrong, though, as by adding water the Precious Blood loses the shape of wine and hence ceases to be present (if I’m rightly informed), but at any rate that’s how it is done around here.

  11. PINK says:

    Oh my I do not think I would like to consume a fly either. I do hope no one has to send a cat out after a mouse either as in the end that would be hard on the cat.

  12. acardnal says:

    Matt R, I would also add that use of the chalice veil and burse have also fallen into non-use over the last 40 years, too. Unfortunately.

  13. frjim4321 says:

    Although about half the global population receives part of it’s protein requirement from insect sources.

    On NPR this morning there was a piece on a cricket farm in a neighboring state.

    Beef is ridiculously inefficient to produce.

    As global warming kicks in and water and other resources become more scarce it is likely that insects will become a much greater portion of the human diet.

  14. frjim4321 says:

    = its

    (I know the difference. My spell checker does not.)

  15. stilicho says:

    It’s the middle of July and here in Memphis, TN we never made it out of the 60’s F today. Global warming indeed!

  16. MarkG says:

    @Phil NL
    I wondered about that. Just saw one in a museum years ago and the name and usage stuck with me.

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