The Armchair Liturgist: Sharing is Caring

armchair1.jpgCNS reports on a theft at a Pakistani parish in Karachi. Sound system, chalices, and other liturgical items are now being borrowed from neighboring parishes.

It brings to mind a challenge I’ve found common in the parishes I’ve served. Lots of churches have extra vestments, old liturgical items, and other things that might be in decent shape. Or not so decent shape. Sit in the purple chair and do some early Spring cleaning. How would you dispose of these extra items? How do you handle gifts no longer used? Are you aware of various organizations that collect church things and distribute them to parishes in need.

I remember we had a horrific set of polyester chasubles at one parish I served. Maybe a dozen of them. Made my skin crawl just to look at them. (I’m allergic to polyester.) One school teacher took a few to use as costuming for school plays and musicals. My art/environment team didn’t want to cannibalize them for table covers or things like that. I shipped them off to a mission in the northern plains, but I felt badly about what we were sending.

If anybody reading has suggestions for a donation chain on unused liturgical objects, let us know in the combox, ok? If you can’t add links, just send them to my e-mail and I’ll update this post accordingly.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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5 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Sharing is Caring

  1. Jimmy Mac says:

    I suspect that poorer parishes who need vestments, among other things, won’t really have their sensibilities upset too much if they are given polyster vestments in decent conditions.

  2. Chase says:

    I think there’s a very fine line between unused liturgical items that could go to the missions and items that are part of a parish’s historic patrimony.

    I’m a bit of a historian at heart, and I think that things such as chalices, candlesticks, some vestments, etc. are best kept for future generations.

  3. Matthew Meloche says:

    A parishioner recently found an old ’65 missal and missal stand that a previous pastor had given her. She donated it back to the church and now its used as decor in a hallway in the rectory open to the chanted Pater Noster.

  4. Jimmy Mac says:

    Which is more important? A parish’s history/stuff or the aid to parishes in need? I have been to (and belong to one) wherein there seems to be a compulsion to constantly keep adding things and stuff and tschochkes. It’s as if the road to heaven is paved with baubles, bangles and beads. There are a lot of parishes and worshipping communities in many lands who can only dream of what we put aside in American parishes. Get over it and start supporting those who can’t begin to acquire what we take for granted and push aside as “old stuff.” I don’t remember Jesus sponsoring eBay.

  5. Sr. Peggy says:

    I do have a thought about this- having worked in missions it is true that any suppplies are welcome- to a point. Many a chalice with someone’s name on it no one knew was galdly received and they were prayed for in their new mission home. But, when some of the vestments have begun to fall apart or the chalice and patten are so old that they are rusting and dented, at some point, it really is no longer a worthy symbol for liturgy and should be discarded. The missions are not a poor cousin to receive our leftovers. With that caveat, it may be a good thing to be mindful and send them soemthing new now and then as a result of a fundraiser around mission sunday or some other sutiable occaision. Many parishes have twinned with others, and this is a good way to support them as well.

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