GIRM 278-280: “The Purification”

This section is titled “The Purification,” but that strikes me as a misnomer. We treat spills, drops, and accidents reverently and ideally without a distracting scrupulosity. But the notion that vessels, and other objects need “purifying” when in contact with the sacred species is strange, to say the least.

Anyway, we know what the GIRM means, so here are the directives:

278. Whenever a fragment of the host adheres to his fingers, especially after the fraction or after the Communion of the faithful, the Priest should wipe his fingers over the paten or, if necessary, wash them. Likewise, he should also gather any fragments that may have fallen outside the paten.

279. The sacred vessels are purified by the Priest, the Deacon, or an instituted acolyte after Communion or after Mass, in so far as possible at the credence table. The purification of the chalice is done with water alone or with wine and water, which is then consumed by whoever does the purification. The paten is wiped clean as usual with the purificator.

Care is to be taken that whatever may remain of the Blood of Christ after the distribution of Communion is consumed immediately and completely at the altar.

This last paragraph above was a 2000 addition.

280. If a host or any particle should fall, it is to be picked up reverently; and if any of the Precious Blood is spilled, the area where the spill occurred should be washed with water, and this water should then be poured into the sacrarium in the sacristy.

And every sacristan knows this, right?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in GIRM, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to GIRM 278-280: “The Purification”

  1. Liam says:

    Well, purification is a sacred trope of art that concerns the boundary between the sacred and non-sacred, and so has a Janus-like quality in that regard.

  2. As one of Sacristan’s and Eucharistic Minster at the Baltimore Basilica, yes we do.

  3. Albert William says:

    We do not have an instituted acolyte. Can a eucharistic minster carry out the purification of the vessels ?

    • Todd says:

      It depends on the diocese and parish. Clergy who go strictly by the book and prefer to do it themselves, no. Priests who are less concerned about this, usually permit it.

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