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Sacred Vessels

Chalice
A chalice is the cup from which the precious blood is drunk. It is often very ornate, and the inside of the chalice must be either silver or gold. The Church mandates that these precious materials be used because the inside of the chalice is touching the Blood of Christ. Only the best is fit for God Himself.

Paten
The paten is the small dish which holds the hosts. This also must be made from gold or silver, since it is touching the Body of Christ.

Ciborium
A ciborium is the sacred vessel which holds the left-over hosts in the tabernacle. It looks kind of like a chalice with a cover. Like the paten and chalice, its inside must be made of gold or silver, since it is touching the Body of Christ.

Monstrance
The monstrance is the receptacle in which the Eucharist is exposed for Adoration. It is often a circular item with rays coming out from the circle in which the Eucharist is placed. The monstrance is often very ornate because it is the holding place of Christ for extended periods of time.

Lunette
For adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a bigger host is often used. The lunette is the receptacle in which that bigger host is kept in the tabernacle. It is a little circular item about the size of the host. The priest often takes the lunette and places it directly in the monstrance for adoration.

Pyx
The pyx is the small receptacle for the Eucharist which is used to transport the Eucharist out of the church. It is most often utilized to take the Eucharist to the sick. It is also gold, since it touches the Body of Christ.

Tabernacle
The tabernacle is the place in which the Holy Eucharist is kept outside of mass. It is the gold box to which everyone genuflects, because inside that box is the Body of Christ. The tabernacle is supposed to be a very solid box which is not easily moved. This makes sense because the Body of Christ should be in a container which is difficult to steal or desecrate.

Cruets
The cruets are the small containers which hold the water and wine before they are poured into the chalice and consecrated into the blood of Christ. The altar servers bring these up to the priest at the time of the offertory.

Lavabo Bowl
The lavabo bowl is the official name for the bowl over which the priest washes his hands at the offertory. Lavabo is Latin for “I will wash”, so it is a fitting name for a bowl whose purpose is a washing. When he uses this bowl, the priest is not only cleaning his hands, but he is showing figuratively that he should be spiritually clean as well.

Corporal
The corporal is a special cloth which is placed on the altar and which holds on it the chalice(s) and paten. Its primary purpose is to catch any particles of the host or drops of the Precious Blood which may inadvertently fall. These particles and drops are still Jesus Himself, so it is crucial that they be caught and properly consumed.

Pall
The pall is the piece of cardboard which is placed over the chalice. It is often covered in cloth and decorated. Its purpose is to keep foreign objects out of the Precious Blood.

Purificator
The purificator is the cloth which hangs over the chalice and which the priest uses to wipe the chalice. Since the Precious Blood is so important, a special, blessed cloth is used to wipe up and clean anything which came into contact with It.

Finger Towel
The finger towel is the cloth with which the priest dries his hands after washing them at the offertory. It is sometimes called a Lavabo Cloth, in relation to the Lavabo bowl. This cloth is unique, but is not as special as the purificator, because it does not touch the Precious Blood.

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