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Liturgical Vessels

Liturgical Vessels are containers used in liturgical worship. Most of them originated from practical utensils that, because of their use in the liturgy, came to be set apart from non-liturgical use by blessings or consecrations, and were often elaborated artistically. 

The consecrated gold or gilded silver cup that holds the Precious Blood of Christ. When Mass begins, the Chalice is covered by the folded purificator and the pall. 

The consecrated gold or gilded silver plate on which the Sacred Host is laid. A Communion Paten has a handle and is held under the chin of one receiving the Eucharist so that in case the Host is dropped, it won't fall to the floor. 

A chalice-shaped vessel with a lid used to hold consecrated Hosts for distribution during the Communion of the faithful. It can be made of any material as long as the inside is gilded. It is kept in the Tabernacle between Masses, covered with a white veil (which can be decorated with precious metals). 

Monstrance (or "Ostensorium" or "Ostensory")
A gold or silver vessel, often in a sunburst shape, with a clear glass area, called a "luna," for viewing the Sacrament. The Host is kept in place inside the crystal or glass frame by a crescent shaped gold or silver gilded clip called a "lunette." The monstrance is used during Benedictions and processions, etc., for adoration by the faithful. 

A small container, also called a custodia, used to carry the Sacred Host when taking it to the sick and homebound. It is made of the same material as the Ciborium -- gilt on the inside. 

Thurible (or "Censer") and Boat
A thurible is the incense burner used at Mass. It hangs from chains so it can be swung to incense people and things. The boat is where the incense is stored until it is placed in the thurbible. 

These vessels hold the water and wine before Consecration 

Aspersory and Aspergillum (or "Aspergill")
The Aspersory is a container for holding Holy Water. The Aspergillum is a stick-shaped implement with holes in it to dip into the Aspersory and catch the Holy Water for sprinkling the people and things. Because of Leviticus 14:49-52, Numbers 19:18, Psalm 50:9, etc., the aspergillum used to contain crushed Biblical hyssop (Origanum syriacum) to catch the water, but nowadays a small sponge is more often used.


Provisions on the Sacred Vessels from the General Instructions on the Roman Missal

327. Among the requisites for the celebration of Mass, the sacred vessels are held in special honor, especially the chalice and paten, in which the bread and wine are offered and consecrated, and from which they are consumed.

328. Sacred vessels are to be made from precious metal. If they are made from metal that rusts or from a metal less precious than gold, then ordinarily they should be gilded on the inside.

329. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, sacred vessels may also be made from other solid materials that, according to the common estimation in each region, are precious, for example, ebony or other hard woods, provided that such materials are suited to sacred use and do not easily break or deteriorate. This applies to all vessels which hold the hosts, such as the paten, the ciborium, the pyx, the monstrance, and other things of this kind.

330. As regards chalices and other vessels that are intended to serve as receptacles for the Blood of the Lord, they are to have bowls of nonabsorbent material. The base, on the other hand, may be made of other solid and worthy materials.

331. For the consecration of hosts, a large paten may appropriately be used; on it is placed the bread for the priest and the deacon as well as for the other ministers and for the faithful.

332. As to the form of the sacred vessels, the artist may fashion them in a manner that is more in keeping with the customs of each region, provided each vessel is suited to the intended liturgical use and is clearly distinguishable from those intended for everyday use.

333. For the blessing of sacred vessels, the rites prescribed in the liturgical books are to be followed.136

334. The practice is to be kept of building a sacrarium in the sacristy, into which are poured the water from the purification of sacred vessels and linens (cf. above, no. 280).

1 comment

  1. I really like this monstrance artwork (all of it)! Can it be shared? We have a vocations poster that this would great for. If so, can we cite you as the source? Thanks!


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