ASK FATHER: Purify a ciborium using a cloth purificator?

From a Jesuit priest…


I have a question regarding purification: In the Vetus Ordo, it is customary to purify the paten with the thumb and index finger. What is the correct way to purify a ciborium? In the Novus Ordo, the ciboria (as well as the paten) are usually purified with the purificator. I have done this since my ordination, but since I started celebrating the old rite, I have been wondering if this is correct (and if it is correct to purify the ciborium with the purificator in the old rite) since there will inevitably be particles that get stuck or remain on the purificator. Many thanks in advance!

Father, I commend you for asking.  Thank you.   You are right to wonder about the use of the purificator for particles of the Eucharist in a ciboria.    For the life of me I cannot figure out how any priest could think it is a good idea to use a purificator to wipe out a ciborium… unless they don’t believe that those particles are Eucharist.

No.  Do not use the purificator.  Use your index finger to move as much as you can out of the ciborium into the chalice.  Then, when you purify your fingers, purify them over the ciborium and then pour the contents from the ciborium into the chalice.

Here is a helpful little video, in which I go through the procedure with some incidental remarks.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    In a similar vein: EF or OF, I worry about the pall inadvertently wicking up Precious Blood from the rim of the chalice.
    It seems such an obvious problem that there must be a prescribed solution that I am not aware of.

    [If you have to distribute Communion at Mass, and therefore cover with the pall, use the purificator on the rim of the chalice after communicating from the chalice.]

  2. Hb says:

    After consuming from the chalice I typically do not cover until after purifying.

  3. Fr. Kelly says:

    Thank you Fr. Z.
    I find this very helpful.

    The only thing I do different:
    I was taught, after transferring dry particles from ciborium to chalice, receive the wine into the ciborium to pick up any remaining particles, and then pour from the ciborium into the chalice.

    (much the same as the procedure for the purification of the fingers.)

    Taking care over these matters helps to underscore our devotion to Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament and gives a few more moments for Thanksgiving.

  4. rwj says:

    Why is wine used for the purification? This practice has also ended in the Novus Ordo.

  5. Fr. Kelly says:

    The use of wine for purification is not ended in Novus Ordo. It has been made optional. I use the procedure outlined here for both ordinary and extraordinary forms.
    There are several reasons for using wine to purify. A very practical reason is that it has a lower surface tension than water and so is much more effective at dissolving tiny particles of hosts collected in the ciborium and chalice. Another, more essential reason is that the Precious Blood has the accidents of wine and so the wine poured in sufficient quantity mixes with the remaining small quantity of Precious Blood and dissolves it, purifying the vessel of Christ’s Presence.

  6. APX says:

    Fabric softener makes things anti-absorbent and many laundry detergents contain fabric softener. I learned this after my mom tried drying my dishes with my anti-absorbent tea towel. I suspect this may be the problem with anti-absorbent purificators n

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