What is it called?
Priests and deacons who distribute Holy Communion during the course of the Mass, as well as outside of Mass, will employ the Ablution Cup to purify their fingers of the sacred particles of the Host.
The Ablution Cup, filled with water, is typically a small bowl-like container, located near the tabernacle. After the distribution of Holy Communion, the minister of Holy Communion, namely the priest and the deacon, returns the Ciborium to the tabernacle, dips his thumb and index into the water held by the ablution cup, wipes his fingers on the purificator, and returns to the sacristy.
The use of altar-cloths goes back to the early centuries of the Church. The custom of using three altar-cloths began probably in the ninth century, so that if the Precious Blood should by accident be spilled it might be absorbed by the altar-cloths before it reached the altar-stone. More recently in the Church, Mass may be said with fewer than three altar cloths.
When three altar cloths are used, the top altar-cloth must be single and extend regularly to the predella on both sides (ibid.). If the table of the altar rests on columns or is made after the fashion of a tomb or sepulchre, and is not ornamented with an antipendium, the top cloth need only cover the table without extending over the edge at the sides.
Altar-cloths must be blessed by the bishop or someone who has the faculty before they can be used for the celebration of Mass. In the United States the faculty is granted by the ordinary to priests in general.
The crucifix is the principal ornament of the altar. It is placed on the altar to recall to the mind of the celebrant, and the people, that the Victim offered on the altar is the same as was offered on the Cross. For this reason the crucifix must be placed on the altar as often as Mass is celebrated. The rubric of the Roman Missal prescribes that it be placed at the middle of the altar between the candlesticks, and that it be large enough to be conveniently seen by both the celebrant and the people.
A raised stand at the front of the church that serves the functions of both lectern and pulpit is properly called the ambo. In common usage, ambos are often incorrectly called pulpits.
The word ambo comes from a Greek word meaning an elevation. It was originally an elaborate raised platform in the middle of the nave from which the Epistle and Gospel would be read, and was occasionally used as a speaker's platform for homilies. It was joined to the sanctuary by a raised walkway called the soleas.
(The ambo pictured here at Blessed Kateri Takekwitha, Lagrangeville, NY, is positioned to the right of the altar when viewed from the nave.)
The frontal (antipendium, pallium altaris) is an appendage which covers the entire front of the altar, from the lower part of the table (mensa) to the predella, and from the gospel corner to that of the epistle side. Its origin may probably be traced to the curtains or veils of silk, or of other precious material, which hung over the open space under the altar, to preserve the shrines of the saints usually deposited there. Later, these curtains were converted into one piece of drapery which covered the whole front of the altar and was suspended from the table of the altar.
A basin of water used to perform the Sacrament of Baptism. Fonts are often placed at or near the entrance to a church's nave to remind believers of their baptism as they enter the church to worship, since the rite of baptism served as their initiation into the Church. The simplest of these fonts has a pedestal with a holder for a basin of water. The materials vary greatly consisting of carved and sculpted marble, wood, metal, or metal sheathing. The shape can vary. Many are eight-sided as a reminder of the new creation and as a connection to the practice of circumcision, which traditionally occurs on the eighth day. Some are three-sided as a reminder of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The earliest baptisms were performed in natural streams or other bodies of water. Following this tradition, the earliest baptismal fonts were designed for full immersion, and were often cross-shaped with steps (usually three, for the Trinity) leading down into them. Often such baptismal pools were located in a separate building, called abaptistery, near the entrance of the church.
As infant baptism became more common, fonts became smaller. Today, the fonts of many Christian denominations are intended for baptisms using a non-immersion method, such as aspersion (sprinkling of water on a person being baptized) or affusion (pouring of water on a person being baptized).
A small bell, placed on the credence or in some other convenient place on the epistle side of the altar, is rung only at the Sanctus and at the elevation of both Species to invite the faithful to the act of adoration at the Consecration. It may also be rung at the "Domine non sum dignus", and again before the distribution of Holy Communion to the laity, and at other times according to the custom of the place.
An altar-candlestick consists of five parts: the foot, the stem, the knob about the middle of the stem, the bowl to receive the drippings of wax, and the pricket, i.e. the sharp point that terminates the stem on which the candle is fixed. Instead of fixing the candle on the pricket, it is permissible to use a tube in which is put a small candle which is forced to the top of the tube by a spring placed within (Cong. Sac. Rit., 11 May, 1878). In the early days of the Church candlesticks were not placed on the altar though lights were used in the church, and especially near the altar. The chandeliers were either suspended from the ceiling or attached to the side walls, or were placed on Pedestals. When the chandeliers were fed with oil they were usually called canthari, when they held candles they went by the name of phari, although frequently these words were applied indiscriminately to either. The lights usually assumed the form of a crown, a cross, a tree, etc., but at times also of real or imaginary animals.
The custom of placing candlesticks and candles on the altar became general in the sixteenth century. Down to that time only two were ordinarily used, but on solemn feasts four or six. At present more are used, but the rubric of the missal (20) prescribes only two, one at each side of the cross, at least at a low Mass.
A metal container suspended from chains, in which incense is burned on hot charcoal during worship services. A censer may be used at any Mass: entrance procession; beginning of Mass to incense the cross and the altar; Gospel procession and proclamation; after the bread and the chalice have been placed upon the altar, to incense the offerings, the cross, and the altar, the priest and people; at the elevation of the host and chalice after consecration. The number of swings of the thurible is specified in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Three swings: the Most Blessed Sacrament, a relic of the Holy Cross and images of the Lord exposed for public veneration, the offerings for the sacrifice of the Mass, the altar cross, the Book of the Gospels, the Paschal Candle, the priest, and the people. Two swings (only at the beginning of the celebration, after the incensing of the altar): relics and images of the Saints exposed for public veneration. A series of swings: the altar.
The priest may incense offerings by tracing a cross over them with the thurible instead of three swings.
The chalice occupies the first place among sacred vessels, and by a figure of speech the material cup is often used as if it were synonymous with the Precious Blood itself. "The chalice of benediction, which we bless", writes St. Paul, "is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?" (1 Corinthians 10:16). No reliable tradition has been preserved to us regarding the vessel used by Christ at the Last Supper. In the sixth and seventh centuries pilgrims to Jerusalem were led to believe that the actual chalice was still venerated in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, having within it the sponge which was presented to Our Saviour on Calvary. The earliest specimen of a chalice of whose original purpose we can feel reasonably confident is the chalice of Chelles, preserved until the French Revolution and believed to have been wrought by, or at least to date from the time of, the famous artificer St. Eligius of Noyon, who died in 659. The material was gold, richly decorated with enamels and precious stones. In shape it was without handles and like a celery glass, with a very deep cup and no stem, but the cup was joined to the base by a knop, which under the name of nodus orpomellum became a very characteristic feature in the chalices of the Middle Ages. To this day at the solemn papal high Mass, the chalice is brought from the altar to the pope at his throne, and the pontiff absorbs its contents through a golden pipe. This practice also lasted down to the reformation among the Cistercians.
The ciborium is an altar-vessel in which the consecrated particles for the Communion of the laity are kept. It need not necessarily be made of gold or silver, since the Roman Ritual merely prescribes that it be made ex solida decentique materia. It may even be made of copper provided it be gilt. It must not be made of ivory or glass. Its base should be wide. its stem should have a knob, and it may be embellished and adorned like the chalice (vide supra). There should be a slight round elevation in the centre, at the bottom, in order to facilitate the taking out of the particles when only a few remain therein.
(From Latin corpus, body) A square white linen cloth, now usually somewhat smaller than the breadth of an altar, upon which the Sacred Host and chalice are placed during the celebration of Mass. Although formal evidence is wanting, it may fairly be assumed that something in the nature of a corporal has been in use since the earliest days of Christianity.
According to existing liturgical rules, the corporal must not be ornamented with embroidery, and must be made entirely of pure white linen, though there seem to have been many medieval exceptions to this law. It is not to be left to lie open upon the altar, but when not in use is to be folded and put away in a burse, or "corporas-case," as it was commonly called in pre-Reformation England.
A small table of wood, marble, or other suitable material placed within the sanctuary of a church and near the wall at the Epistle side, for the purpose of holding the cruets, acolytes' candles, and other utensils required for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice. The credence is contemplated only in connection with solemn Masses; on it the chalice, paten, corporal, and veil are placed from the beginning of the Mass until the Offertory. When a bishop celebrates, it should be of larger dimensions than usual, the ordinary size being about forty inches long, twenty wide, and thirty-six high. On solemn festivals it should be covered with a linen cloth extending to the ground on all sides, on less solemn occasions the cloth should not extend so far, while for simple rites it should merely cover the superficies.
Epistle and Gospel Side of the Altar (Gospel side, Blessed Kateri) (Epistle side, Blessed Kateri)
In ceremonials we frequently find mention of the right and left side of the altar.Before 1488, the epistle side was called the right side of the altar, and the gospel side the left. In that year, Augustine Patrizi, Bishop of Pienza, published a ceremonial in which the epistle side is called the left of the altar, and the gospel side the right, the denomination being taken from the facing of the cross, the principal ornament of the altar, not of the priest or the laity. In most churches, the Epistle is read from the right side of the altar as you face it from the nave (congregation seating). The Gospel side of the altar is to the left, where the Gospel is normally read. In a few churches, (like Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha in Lagrangeville, NY), and in most cathedrals, the Gospel is read from the right side of the altar (facing it from the nave). Regardless of where the Gospel is read, the Epistle side of the church remains on the right and the Gospel side of the altar remains on the left (facing it from the nave). You can remember which side of the Church is which by taking the vantage point of Christ on the Crucifix: His right is the Gospel/Mary side of the Church; His left is the Epistle/Joseph side of the Church. Mary and the Gospel are greater than Joseph and the Epistle so are at Jesus' right. This will be so unless there is a statue of, say, our Lord, in which case it will be placed to the right of Jesus' vantage point from the Crucifix while Mary is to the left.
Basins were extensively used in the Jewish Ritual and were in early use in Christian churches for ablutions and to receive lamp-drippings etc. The Missal prescribes its used at the "Lavabo" of the Mass; the "CÃ¦remoniale Episcoporum" provides a basin for bearing the cruets and for the preparatory ablutions of bishops. They are ordinarily of ornamented metal.
Holy Water Font
Vessels intended for the use of holy water are of very ancient origin, and archaeological testimony compensates, to a certain extent, for the silence which historical and liturgical documents maintain in their regard. Holy water fonts may be divided into three categories: stationary fonts, placed at the entrance tochurches; portable fonts, placed for aspersions and sacramental rites; and private fonts, in which holy water is kept in private houses.
The holy water font was originally the fountain for ablutions. These fountains were used by the faithful who, before entering the church, washed their hands and feet in accordance with a rite probably derived from Judaism.
Stationary holy water fonts, usually made of bronze, marble, granite, or any other solid stone, and also of terra-cotta, consist of a small tub or basin sometimes detached or resting on a base or pedicle, sometimes imbedded in the wall or in one of the pillars of the church. Occasionally these are under the porch. When the stone is porous it is lined with lead or tin, so as to prevent absorption, the same course being followed with copper fonts to guard against oxidation.
In the rules prescribed by St. Charles Borromeo for the construction of fonts in the Diocese of Milan, we read the following: "Heretofore we have treated of the sacristy and several other things, let us now speak of the vessel intended for holy water. It shall be of marble or of solid stone, neither porous nor with cracks. It shall rest upon a handsomely wrought column and shall not be placed outside of the church but within it and, in so far as possible, to the right of those who enter. There shall be one at the door by which the men enter and one at the women's door. They shall not be fastened to the wall but removed from it as far as convenient. A column or a base will support them and it must represent nothing profane. A sprinkler shall be attached by a chain to the basin, the latter to be of brass, ivory, or some other suitable material artistically wrought."
Holy Water Bucket and Sprinkler
The use of holy water in the earliest days of the Christian Era is attested by documents of only comparatively late date. The "Apostolic Constitutions," the redaction of which goes back to about the year 400, attribute to the Apostle St. Matthew the precept of using holy water. The letter written under the name of Pope Alexander I, who lived in the second century, is apocryphal and of more recent times; hence the first historical testimony does not go back beyond the fifth century. The water used for the Sacrament of Baptism was flowing water, sea or river water, it could not receive the same blessing as that contained in the baptisteries. It is known that some of the faithful believed that holy water possessed curative properties for certain diseases, and that this was true in a special manner of baptismal water. In some places it was carefully preserved throughout the year and, by reason of its having been used in baptism, was considered free from all corruption. This belief spread from East to West; and scarcely had baptism been administered, when the people would crown around with all sorts of vessels and take away the water, some keeping it carefully in their homes whilst others watered their fields, vineyards, and gardens.
Manuterges (Lavabo towel)
The name given to the towel used by the priest when engaged liturgically. There are two kinds of manuterges. One serves the needs of the sacristy. The priest uses this at the washing of hands before mass, before distributing Communion outside of Mass, and before administering baptism. It can also be used for drying the hands after they have been washed on occasions not prescribed by the rubrics, but still customary after Mass. There are no prescriptions as to material and form for the towel used in the sacristy. It is usual to have it hanging over a roller, the two ends being sewn together so as to make it into a circular band. The custom of washing the hands before Mass appears to go back to the early days of Christianity.
The other manuterge is used in the Mass for drying both the hands at the Lavabo, an action preformed by the priest after the Offertory as he recites the psalm, "Lavabo," and also by the bishop before the Offertory and after the Communion. It is kept on the credence table with the finger-bowl and cruets. There are no ecclesiastical regulations regarding the form and material of this manuterge. The towel, which is used after the Offertory during the recital of the psalm "Lavabo," is usually small (18 in. by 14 in.), only the points of the thumb and two fingers, and not the whole hand, being usually washed. It usually has lace or embroidery at the ends.
Olea Sacra ï¿½ Holy Oils
Oil is a product of great utility the symbolic signification of which harmonizes with its natural uses. It serves to sweeten, to strengthen, to render supple; and the Church employs it for these purposes in its rites. The liturgical blessing of oil is very ancient. The book of Bishop Serapion (d. c. 362) contains the formula for the blessing of the oil and chrism for those who had just received baptism, which was in those days followed by confirmation in such a manner that the administration of both sacraments constituted a single ceremony. In the same book is found a separate form of blessing for the oil of the sick, for water, and for bread. It is an invocation to Christ to give His creatures power to cure the sick, to purify the soul, to drive away impure spirits, and to wipe out sins. In the Old Testament oil was used for the consecration of priests and kings, also in all great liturgical functions, e.g., sacrifices, legal purifications, and the consecration of altars.
In the primitive Church the oils to be used in the initiation of catechumens were consecrated on Holy Thursday in the Missa Chrismalis. Two different ampullae were used, one containing pure oil, the other oil mixed with balsam. This mixture, was made by the pope himself before the Mass, in the sacristy. During the Mass two clerics of lesser rank stood before the altar holding the ampullae. Towards the end of the Canon the faithful were allowed to make use of themselves (Tertullian, "Ad Scap." iv.), but the same oil also served for extreme unction. The vessels holding it were placed on the railingg surrounding the space reserved for the clergy. The deacons brought some of these vessels to the altar to receive that blessing of the pope which we read today in the Gelasian and Gregorian Sacramentaries. The pope continued the mass while the deacons returned the ampullae to the place whence they had brought them, and a certain number of bishops and priests repeated over those which had not been brought to the altar the formula pronounced by the pope. The consecration of the large ampullae to the archdeacon and one of his asistants. The archdeacon presented to the pope the ampulla of perfumed oil, the pontiff breathed on it three times, made the sign of the cross, and recited a prayer which bears a certain resemblance to the Preface of the Mass. The ampulla of pure oil was next presented to the pope, and was consecrated with less solemnity. The consecration and benediction of the holy oils now take place on Holy Thursday at a very solemn ceremony reserved for the bishop. He blesses the oil which is to serve at the anointing of catechumens previous to baptism, next the oil with which the sick are annointed in the Sacrament of Extreme Unctiion, finally the chrism, which is a mixture of oil and balsam, and which is used in the administraion of the Sacrament of Confirmation.
The Oil of the Sick
The use of oil in Christian antiquity was not, as has been maintained, a medical prescription adopted by the Church. In Apostolic times St. James directed the priests or ancients of the community to pray for the sick man and to anoint him with oil in the name of Jesus (James 5:14). And shortly afterwards, probably in the second century, a gold leaf found at Beyrout, in Syria, contains an exorcism "pronounced in the dwelling of him whom I annointed." This is, after the text of St. James, the earliest evidence of the use of oil accompained by a formula in the administration of a sacrament.
Oil of Catechumens
During the time of the catechumentate those who were about to become Christians received one or more anointings with holy oil. The oil used on this occasion was that which had received the blessing mentioned in the Apostolic Constitutions. This anointing of the catechumens is explained by the fact that they were regarded to a certain extent as being possessed by the devil until Christ should enter into them through baptism. The oil of catechumens is also used in the ordination of priests and the coronation of kings and queens.
Oil of Chrism
This is used in the West immediately after baptism; both in the East and West it was used very early for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Oil in the Font
From the second century the custom was established of administering baptism with water specially blessed for this purpose. Nevertheless, the sacrament was valid if ordinary water was used. We are not well informed as to the nature of the consecration of this baptismal water, but it must be said that the most ancient indications and descriptions say nothing of the use of oil in this consecration. The first witness, Pseudo-Dionysius, does not go beyond the first half of the sixth century; he tells us that the bishop pours oil on the water of the fonts in the form of a cross (De hierarch, eccles., IV, x; cf. II, viii). There is no doubt that this rite was introduced at a comparatively late period.
Oil in Church Lamps
The maintenance of more or less numerous lamps in the churches was a source of expense which the faithful in their generosity hastened to meet by establishing a fund to purchase oil. The Council of Braga (572) decided that a third of the offerings made to the Church should be used for purchasing oil for the light. The quantity of oil thus consumed was greater when the lamp burned before a famous tomb or shrine, in which case it was daily distributed to pilgrims, who venerated it as a relic.
Ostensorium - Monstrance
The ostensorium (ostensory, monstrance) is a glass-framed shrine in which the Blessed Sacrament is publicly exposed. It may be of gold, silver, brass, or copper gilt. The most appropriate form is that of the sun emitting its rays to all sides. In the middle of the Ostensorium there should be a receptacle(lunula or lunette) of such a size that a large Host may be easily put into it; care must be taken that the Host does not touch the sides of this receptacle. On the front and back of this receptacle there should be a crystal, the one on the back opening like a door, when closed, the latter must fit tightly.
The lunula (lunette) is made of the same material as the ostensorium. If it be made of any material other than gold, it must be gilded (Cong. Sac. Rit., 31 August, 1867). In form it may be either of two crescents or of two crystals encased in metal. If two crescents be used, the arrangement should be such that they can be separated and cleaned.
The ostensorium, provided it\ contains the Blessed Sacrament, may be placed in the tabernacle, but then it should be covered with a white silk veil. When the Blessed Sacrament is taken out of the ostensorium after Benediction it may or may not be removed from the lunula. If it is removed it should, before being placed in the tabernacle, be enclosed in a receptacle, called the repository (custodia, repositorium, capsula), which is made like the pyx, used in carrying Holy Communion to the sick, but larger, and may have a base with a very short stem. If the Blessed Sacrament be allowed to remain in the crescent-shaped lunula both It and the lunula may be placed in the same kind of receptacle, or in one specially made for this purpose, having a device at the bottom for keeping the Sacred Host in an upright position.
All the sacred vessels, when not actually containing the Blessed Sacrament, should be placed in an iron safe, or other secure place, in the sacristy, so as to be safeguarded against robbery or profanation of any kind. Each ought to be placed in its own case or covered with a separate veil, for protection against dust and dampness.
The blessing of the "paschal candle," which is a column of wax of exceptional size, usually fixed in a great candlestick specially destined for that purpose, is a notable feature of the service on Holy Saturday. The blessing is performed by the deacon, wearing a white dalmatic. A long Eucharistic prayer, the "PrÃ¦conium paschali" or "Exultet," is chanted by him, and in the course of this chanting the candle is first ornamented with five grains of incense and then lighted with the newly blessed fire. At a later stage in the service, during the blessing of the font, the same candle is plunged three times into the water with the words: Descendat in hanc plenitudinem fontis virtus Spiritus Sancti" (May the power of the Holy Spirit come down into the fulness of this fountain). From Holy Saturday until Ascension Day the paschal candle is left with its candlestick in the sanctuary, standing upon the Gospel side of the altar, and it is lighted during high Mass and solemn Vespers on Sundays. It is extinguished after the Gospel on Ascension Day and is then removed.
The paten is a small shallow plate or disc of precious metal upon which the element of bread is offered to God at the Offertory of the Mass, and upon which the consecrated Host is again placed after the Fraction. The word paten comes from a Latin form patinaor patena, evidently imitated from the Greek patane. Such vessels in the first centuries were used in the service of the altar, and probably served to collect the offerings of bread made by the faithful and also to distribute the consecrated fragments which, after the loaf had been broken by the celebrant, were brought down to the communicants, who in their own hands received each a portion from the patina. The paten must be of gold or silver gilt, and cannot be used before it has been consecrated with chrism by a bishop.
It is supposed that every parish possesses a cross of its own and that behind this, as a sort of standard, the parishioners are marshalled when they have to take part in some general procession.
When these crosses are carried in procession the figure of Christ faces the direction in which the procession is moving, but in the case of the papal, legatine, and archiepiscopal crosses the figure of our Saviour is always turned towards the prelate to whom it belongs.
Any box, casket, or shrine destined for the reception of relics: t
he Blessed Eucharist, the holy oils, and other pious objects. nd inscriptions in niello and is believed to contain a fragment of the True Cross. St. Gregory in his letter describes it as a "phylacterium" or "crucem cum ligno sanctÃ¦ crucis Domini". Other small encolpia in the form of crosses, belonging approximately to the same period, are also preserved.
Of larger reliquaries, or shrines, our oldest surviving specimens probably date back to the seventh or eighth century.
Under this class we may also mention the relic statues which seem to have been rather exceptionally common in England.
Lastly it will be sufficient to point out that relics have at all times been kept in simple caskets or boxes, varying indefinitely in size, material, and ornamentation. In more modern times these are invariably secured by a seal, and the contents indicated in a formal episcopal act of authentication, without which it is not lawful to expose the relics for public veneration.
This is a cup made of gold or silver, or if of silver, the interior must be of gold. It holds the wine for the Holy Sacrifice, and is a striking figure of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
This is a linen cloth used for wiping the chalice, and the fingers and mouth of the celebrant after Communion. It is spread over the cup of the chalice at the beginning and end of Mass.
This is a plate of gold or silver upon which the large bread for consecration rests until the Offertory. Of old it was necessarily larger than now, for it held all the breads to be consecrated.
This is a square pocket-shaped piece of linen with a cardboard inserted in order to stiffen it. It is placed over the chalice to prevent dust or other matter falling into it.
This is the cloth which covers the chalice until the Offertory, and again after the Communion. It also is made of the same material and color as the vestments.
Burse and Corporal.
The Burse is a square container for the corporal when the latter is not in use. It is made of the same material and color as the vestments. The Corporal is a square piece of linen. In size and appearance it resembles a small napkin. It is spread out on the altar, and the chalice is placed upon it. During the Mass the Sacred Host rests for a time on the Corporal. Corporal.
An officer who is charged with the care of the sacristy, the church, and their contents. In ancient times many duties of the sacristan were performed by the doorkeepers (ostiarii), later by the mansionarii and the treasurers. Nowadays the sacristan is elected or appointed. The "CÃ¦remoniale episcoporum" prescribed that in cathedral and collegiate churches the sacristan should be a priest, and describes his duties in regard to the sacristy, the Blessed Eucharist, the baptismal font, the holy oils, the sacred relics, the decoration of the church for the different seasons and feasts, the preparation of what is necessary for the various ceremonies, the pregustation in pontifical Mass, the ringing of the church bells, the preservation of order in the church, and the distribution of Masses; and finally it suggests that one or two canons be appointed each year to supervise the work of the sacristan and his assistants.
The under-sacristan (custos) is also mentioned in the Decretals (lib. I, tit. xxvii, "De officio custodis"). He was the assistant of the sacristan, was subject to the archdeacon, and discharged duties very similar to those of the sacristan. Now the office is hardly ever attached to a benefice, but is usually a salaried position. The Council of Trent desired that, according to the old canons, clerics should hold such offices; but in most churches, on account of the difficulty or impossibility of obtaining clerics, laymen perform many of the duties of the sacristan and under-sacristan.
A room in the church or attached thereto, where the vestments, church furnishings and the like, sacred vessels, and other treasures are kept, and where the clergy meet and vest for the various ecclesiastical functions. It corresponds to the secretarium or diaconicum of old. At present the almost universal practice is to have the sacristy directly behind the main altar or at either side. The sacristy should contain cases, properly labelled, for the various vestments in all the liturgical colors; a crucifix or other suitable image in a prominent position to which the clergy bow before going to the sanctuary and on returning; a lavatory, where the officiating clergy may wash their hands; a copy of the Decree of Urban VIII prohibiting certain offices and masses; a book containing the obligations of the Church regarding foundations and their fulfillment. It is customary to have a holy water font, and a bell to admonish the congregation of the advent of the clergy, at the door leading to the sanctuary. The sacristy is not blessed or consecrated together with the church, and consequently is not a sacred place in the canonical sense. However, except where penalties are concerned, it enjoys on the whole the same prerogatives as the church. When a sacristy directly behind the sanctuary has two entrances, the clergy enter the sanctuary at the gospel side, and leave by the epistle side. A double sacristy is sometimes provided, one for the clergy, one for the altar boys. Canons too usually have their own sacristy. In cathedrals, where there is no special chapel for this purpose, there should be a separate sacristy (secretarium) with an altar, where the bishop may assist at Terce and prepare for pontifical Mass.
Sedilia or Priest's Bench
The name given to seats on the south side of the sanctuary, used by the officiating clergy during the liturgy. The earliest examples are found in the catacombs, where a single stone seat at the south end of the altar was used by the celebrant. In course of time the number of seats was increased to three (for celebrant, deacon, and sub-deacon), which is the number usually found, though sometimes there are four and even five. In many cases they are on different levels and the celebrant occupied the highest, i.e., the easternmost.
This is a small square or oblong chamber in the body of the altar, in which are placed the relics of canonized martyrs and saints, especially of those in whose honor the church of the altar is consecrated. These relics must be actual portions of the saints' bodies, not simply of their garments or of other objects which they may have used or touched; the relics must, moreover be authenticated. If the altar is a fixed or immovable altar, the relics are placed in a reliquary of lead, silver, or gold, which should be large enough to contain, besides the relics, three grains of incense and a small piece of parchment on which is written an attest of the consecration. This parchment is usually enclosed in a crystal vessel or small vial, to prevent its decomposition.
Tabernacle signified in the Middle Ages sometimes a ciborium-altar, a structure resting on pillars and covered with a baldachino that was set over an altar, sometimes an ostensory or monstrance, a tower-shaped vessel for preserving and exhibiting relics and the Blessed Sacrament; sometimes, lastly, like today, it was the name of the vessel holding the pyx.
That is, at the present time in ecclesiastical usage it is only the name for the receptacle or case placed upon the table of the high altar or of another altar in which the vessels containing the Blessed Sacrament, as the ciborium, monstrance, custodia, are kept. As a rule, in cathedrals and monastic churches it is not set upon the high altar but upon a side altar, or the altar of a special sacramentary chapel; this is to be done both on account of the reverence due the Holy Sacrament and to avoid impeding the course of the ceremonies in solemn functions at the high altar. On the other hand it is generally to be placed upon the high altar in parish churches as the most befitting position.
A number of decisions have been given by the Sacred Congregation of Rites regarding the tabernacle. According to these, to mention the more important decisions, relics and pictures are not to be displayed for veneration either on or before the tabernacle. Neither is it permissible to place a vase of flowers in such manner before the door of thetabernacle as to conceal it. The interior of the tabernacle must either be gilded or covered with white silk; but the exterior is to be equipped with a mantle-like hanging, that must be either always white or is to be changed according to the color of the day; this hanging is called the canopeum. A benediction of the tabernacle is customary but is not prescribed.
An altar lamp suspended in front of the altar, in the sanctuary proper, before the tabernacle that burns continually as long as the Host is present. In the Old Testament, God commanded that a lamp filled with the purest oil of olives always burn in the Tabernacle (Exodus 27:20, 21). Today, the Church prescribes that at least one lamp burn before the tabernacle as an ornament of the altar and for the purpose of worship.
The lamp reminds us of the presence of Christ and is a profession of our love and affection. By this material light, Christ is represented as the "true light which enlighteneth every man" (John 1:9).
The lamp is usually suspended before the tabernacle by means of a chain or rope, and it should hang sufficiently high and removed from the altar-steps tocause no inconvenience to those who are engaged in the sanctuary.
By liturgical vestments are meant the vestments that, according to the rules of the Church or from ecclesiastical usage, are to be worn by the clergy in performing the ceremonies of the services of the Church, consequently, above all, at the celebration of the Mass, then in the administration of the sacraments, at blessings, the solemn recitation of the canonical hours, public services of prayer, processions, etc.
The liturgical vestments of the Latin Rite are: the amice, alb, cincture, maniple, stole, tunicle, dalmatic, chasuble, surplice, cope, sandals, stockings (or buskins), gloves, mitre, pallium, succinctorium, and fanon.
The pope has the most elaborate and the greatest number of liturgical vestments, for all the vestments mentioned belong to him. The vestments of the priest are the amice, alb, cincture, maniple, stole, chasuble--vestments which the priest wears at the celebration of the Mass--then, in addition, the surplice and the cope. Besides the vestments worn by the priest the liturgical dress of the bishop includes also the tunic, dalmatic, sandals, buskins, gloves, and mitre; those of the archbishop include further the pallium. The subdiaconal vestments consist of the amice, alb, cincture, maniple, and dalmatic; those of the deacon of amice, alb, cincture, maniple, stole, and dalmatic. Finally, the lower clergy wear the surplice as a liturgical vestment, a vestment that belongs to all the grades of ordination.
Besides the vestments worn by the clergy there are various other articles of clothing worn by ecclesiastics which are not, it is true, designated as vestes sacrae, but which, nevertheless, in a general sense can be included among the liturgical vestments. Thus, in the Latin Rite, there are the cappa magna, the amess, the mozetta, the rochet, the biretta; in the Greek Rite the mandyas (mantle) of the bishops, and the biretta-like covering for the head called kamelaukion, which, when worn by monks or bishops, has a veil called exokamelaukion.
The liturgical vestments have by no means remained the same from the founding of the Church until the present day. There is as great a difference between the vestments worn at the Holy Sacrifice in the pre-Constantinian period, and even in the following centuries, and those now customary at the services of the Church, as between the rite of the early Church and that of modern times. Just as the ceremonies that today surround the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries are the product of a long development, so are also the present liturgical vestments. It was sought at an earlier era to derive the Christian priestly dress from the vestments of the Jewish religion. Yet even a superficial comparison of the liturgical vestments of the New Covenant with those of the Old should have sufficed to show the error of such an opinion. The Christian vestments did not originate in the priestly dress of the Old Testament; they have, rather, developed from the secular dress of the Graeco-Roman world. The influence of the dress of the Mosaic cult upon the form of the Christian priestly dress can only conceded in this sense that the recollection of it must have made the use of liturgical garments specially reserved for the services of the Church appear not only entirely in keeping with the dignity of the mysteries of religion, but even necessary. This influence, however, was clearly general in character, not such as to make the Jewish priestly dress the prototype of the Christian.
Not all the vestes sacrae necessarily require a blessing. This is strictly commanded only for the amice, alb, maniple, stole, chasuble, and perhaps also the cincture. The blessing of the liturgical vestments is a prerogative of the bishop; others can bless them only when specially empowered to do so. Vestments that have been blessed lose the blessing when the form is essentially altered, when they are much worn, and are therefore unworthy of the holy service, finally, when very greatly repaired.
Water and Wine Cruets
A small vessel used for containing the wine and water required for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Two are always employed. The Roman Missal (RubricÃ¦ Gen., XX) directs that they should be made of glass. This is the most suitable material because easily cleaned, and its transparency obviates danger of confounding the water and wine. Other materials, however, are used, such as gold, silver, and other precious metals. In this case it is advisable to have a V (Vinum) on the wine and an A (aqua) on the water cruet, so that one may be easily distinguished from the other. In shape nothing is prescribed, but the vessels should have a good firm base on which to stand securely and a fairly wide neck so as to admit of being easily cleansed. They should have a cover to keep away flies and insects. Formerly the wine for the Holy Sacrifice was brought by the faithful in a jar-shaped vessel. It was then received by the deacon and poured into the chalice, a vestige of which custom is still observable at the consecration of a bishop.