Tag Archives: altar

The Mass of the Faithful: The Cannon; The Preface Lesson 1

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It is indeed meet and just, right and profitable unto salvation, always and everywhere to give thanks to Thee, holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God, who with Thine only begotten Son and the Holy Ghost art one God, one Lord; not in the unity of a single person, but in the trinity of a single nature. For that which we believe from Thy revelation concerning Thy glory, that same we believe of Thy Son, that same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or discrimination. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, we shall adore distinction in persons, oneness in being, and equality in majesty. This the angels and the archangels, the cherubim, too, and the seraphim do praise; day by day they cease not to get out, saying as with one voice:

Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts! Heaven and earth are filled with Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

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The Canon is the Consecration part of the Mass.

The Preface is the introduction to the Canon. It is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to the most Blessed Trinity–to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

Before the priest says the Preface, he speaks to the people with the words: “The Lord be with you.”

The altar boys answer: “And with thy spirit.”

Then the priest says to the people: “Lift up your hearts.” And what does that mean? His words say: “Pay very special attention. Let it be loving attention.”

Again the altar boy answers in the name of the people: “We have lifted them up to the Lord.”

Next the priest says to us: “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”

And again the boy answers for the people: “It is meet and just.” He means that it is the right thing for us to do, to give thanks to Almighty God.

Then the priest recites the Preface. He says it aloud. As he does so, his hands are extended outward. They show that he is begging God to listen.

In the Preface we speak our thanks to God. Our gift of thanksgiving we give to God immediately after the Consecration when we offer Our Lord to God the Father.

The word eucharist means “giving thanks.” To thank God for His many favors is one of the four chief purposes for which the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered.

The Preface, given at the beginning of this lesson, is the one used on almost all Sundays. At certain times parts of the Preface change.

The short prayer after the Preface is called “The Sanctus.” Sanctus is the Latin word for holy. In the Sanctus we use words of the angels in giving praise to our Blessed Lord. He will become present on the altar at the Consecration. At that time He becomes our Gift to God. He becomes the victim of sacrifice.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

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The Lavabo Lesson 5

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After the prayer to the Holy Ghost, the priest goes to the Epistle side of the altar. There the altar boy pours a little water over his fingers. As the priest washes his fingers, he says a Psalm from the Bible that begins with the words, “I will wash my hands.” This part of the Mass is called Lavabo, because lavabo is the Latin word for “I will wash,” and the first word in the Psalm as the priest recites it in Latin.

The Psalm speaks of two things in particular, desire of pardon for sin and God’s glory. Long ago, the priest washed his fingers because they often became soiled as they received the gifts the people brought. Today, the priest continues to wash his fingers, but as a sign that he wishes his soul to be made clean from sin. The people say the Psalm for the same reasons as the priest, to ask pardon of God for their sins and to tell Him that they wish to honor Him.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

Mass of the Faithful: The Offertory; The Offering of the Host Lesson 1

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Accept, O holy Father, almighty and eternal God, this spotless host which I, Thy unworthy servant, offer unto Thee, my living and true God, to atone for my numberless sins, offenses, and negligences; on behalf of all here present and likewise for all faithful Christians, living and dead, that it may profit me and them as a means of salvation unto life everlasting. Amen.

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Before The Priest Offers The Host

Long ago, people brought their gifts for the Church to the altar at the beginning of the Offertory of the Mass. During this time the choir sang a Psalm from the Bible. Today, a few sentences are read at the beginning of the Offertory. They contain part of the Psalm that the choir once sang. The priest reads this short prayer from the Missal. It is called the Offertory of the day and changes daily.

After the Offertory prayer the priest is ready to say the prayer offering the host to God. First, he takes the veil off the chalice and puts it on the right side. You already know that the paten is the small gold-like plate on which the priest brought the host to the altar. This is the host which is to be consecrated during Holy Mass.

The priest holds up the paten with the host on it and offers the host to God in the prayer printed at the beginning of this lesson. The prayer reminds us that God is our Father, that He is holy, that He can do all things, and that He always was and always will be.

If you were to put this prayer in simple English it would read like this:

“Recieve, O God the Father, this host which is to be consecrated and offered to You. I know how sinful I am, but I offer this host to You to make up for my sins. I offer it to You for all present in this church. I also offer it to You for all Catholics, living and dead, that it may help me and them to be happy with You forever in heaven.”

This prayer tells us that the priest is offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to atone for his sins, and to pray for all present and for all faithful Christians, living and dead. The prayer reminds us of the love that Christians should have for one another and, first of all, for the people of their own parish.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Collect Lesson 7

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O almighty and eternal God who has granted us the favor of honoring the merits of all the Saints on this one feast day, we beseech Thee, through the intercession of so many saints, to enrich us with the fulness of Thy much-desired mercy. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the union of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. (Collect for the Feast of All Saints.)

Before The Collects

After the Gloria, or if there is no Gloria in the Mass, after the Kyrie, the priest say to the people, “The Lord be with you.” In Latin this greeting is “Dominos vobiscum.” The priest turns his back to the altar for a second to make this prayer. The people answer through the server by saying, “And with your spirit .” In Latin this reply is “Et cum spiritu tuo.”

When the priest says “Dominus vobiscum,” meaning “The Lord be with you,” he is saying to all the people in the church, “May God’s grace be with you.” As we all know, God’s grace comes to us in a special way through the Mass. The server’s reply, “Et cum spiritu tuo,” means “And with you, too.” The priest has prayed for God’s grace for the people, and they pray for God’s grace for him.

The Collects

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The priest then goes again to the right of the altar to read from the Missal. At this time, he reads the prayer or prayers called Collects. The Collect changes each day. It belongs to the Proper of the Mass. It is called Collect because it collects together the prayers of the people. Before beginning the Collect, the priest says “Oremus.” This means “Let us pray.” He says in a clear voice because he wants all to pay attention. He wants to remind people to unite themselves with him in a special way while he offers to God the prayers of all those present.

The Collect are short prayers, but they are full of meaning. Sometimes there is only one Collect in the Mass, and very often there are two or three. The Collect is the prayer of the people. It never uses the words I or me, but always we and us.

The Collect for the Feast of All Saints is printed at the beginning of this lesson. What are the priest and people asking God for in this prayer? They are praying that God, Who is all-powerful and Who always will be, will hear the prayer of all the saints for them. And what is the favor they know the saints are asking for them? It is mercy. Let us never forget that when we pray for mercy we are praying that God will be kind to us, even though we do not deserve it. We are asking God to give us His grace.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Gloria Lesson 6

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Introduction: Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace to men of good will.

First Part: We praise Thee. We bless Thee. We adore Thee. We glorify Thee. We give Thee thanks for Thy great glory. O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty.

Second Part: O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son. Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Who takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. Who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For Thou alone art holy. Thou alone art Lord. Thou alone, O Jesus Christ, art most high.

Third Part: Together with the Holy Ghost in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

The Gloria is prayed immediately after the Kyrie. The priest is standing at the middle of the altar as he does so. The Gloria is a joyous prayer. For this reason, it is said only on certain days, like Sundays and joyous feasts. It is omitted in Masses for the dead and during Lent.

The Gloria gets its name from the first word of the prayer when it is said in Latin. The word gloria or glory means “great praise and honor.” The prayer gives praise and honor to the Blessed Trinity. You already know one prayer offering glory to the Blessed Trinity, the prayer that begins with the words, “Glory be to the Father.”

The Introduction to the Gloria

Words the angels sang at the birth of Our Lord make up the introduction to this prayer: Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace to men of good will. The angels sang their Gloria because of the wonderful work Our Lord did. He gave glory to God when He made up to God for the sins of men. He obtained peace for men when He procured pardon for their sins and the gift of grace. Our Lord continues to do this in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

You know what your Catchism says about sanctifying grace. It gives our souls a new life. We share in the life of God Himself. Because of the life of grace in us, we have great peace. This comes from being children of God, with the right to heaven.

You also know that to get God’s grace we must be persons of good will. The angels sang, “Peace on earth to men of good will.” Who are men of good Will? We can answer that question very easily. We are men of good will when we are good Catholics, when we love God, our neighbor, and ourselves in the way the Catholic Church teaches. Jesus, the Son of God, teaches us through the Catholic Church.

The Gloria is made up of an introduction and three parts. The first part is addressed to God the Father, the second part to God the Son, and the third part to God the Holy Ghost. We have already examined the introduction, the words the angels sang at the birth of Our Lord.

The First Part: To God The Father

The first part of the Gloria uses four different words to offer honor to God the Father. The prayer says: We praise Thee. We bless Thee. We adore Thee. We glorify Thee. When we make this part of the prayer with the priest, we are expressing our desire to give God the honor due to Him.

Next, this first part of the prayer says: We give thanks for Thy great glory. O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty. Here we are thanking God for His own greatness. We know a little about God’s greatness from the world about us. The Church also teaches us about His greatness. Some of the teachings of the Church are in our Catechism, in the lesson called “God and His Perfections.”

The Second Part: To God The Son

The second part of the Gloria is addressed to God the Son. It begins with the words, “O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son, and ends with the line, Thou alone, O Jesus Christ, art most high. In this part of the prayer we praise Our Lord, and we again pray for mercy.

We praise Our Lord when we use the different names given to Him on this prayer. We call Him Lord, Jesus Christ, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father. At the close of this second part of the Gloria, we praise Him in a very special way. Later, when we look at the third part of the prayer, we will see that this praise also is for God the Holy Ghost and for God the Father.

St. John the Baptist called Our Lord the Lamb of God. When John pointed out Jesus to his disciples, he said: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takest away the sins of the world.” The words Lamb of God describe Jesus who offered Himself in sacrifce by giving up His life to make up for the sins of men. The Bible tells how the Jews would offer a lamb to God in sacrifice. In the Mass Jesus continues to offer Himself in sacrifice, but in an unbloody manner.

Twice, in this second part of the Gloria, we say who takest away the sins of the world. The first time we ask Our Lord to have mercy on us; the second time we ask Him to receive our prayer. Then again we ask Him to have mercy on us. This time we show that we believe He is equal to God the Father. We say who sittest at the right hand of the Father.

When we ask Our Lord to have mercy on us, we are praying for pardon for our sins and for God’s grace. At the same time we are thinking how unworthy we are.

The Third Part: To God The Holy Ghost

In the introduction to the Gloria, we offer praise to the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. We do this in the words, Glory to God in the highest.

In the third part of the prayer we give praise to the Holy Ghost in a special way when we pray: With the Holy Ghost, in the glory of God the Father, Amen. These words remind us that Jesus and the Holy Ghost are one with Father. As the Catechism says: “The Three Divine Persons are perfectly equal to one another because all are one and the same God.”

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Introit Lesson 4

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Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a feast in honor of all the Saints, in whose solemnity the angels rejoice, and join in praising the Son of God. Rejoice in the Lord, he just; praise becometh the upright. (Introit for the Feast of All Saints.)

Before the Introit

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Three things, in particular, you will want to remember about the prayers the priest says at the foot of the altar: (1) He expresses his desire to offer the Holy Sacrifice in these words, I will go to the altar of God. (2) He shows confidence in God. You remember this line, For Thou, O God, art my strength. And this line, you also will recall, Our help is in the name of the Lord. (3) He speaks of his sins in the Confiteor, and he asks God’s pardon for himself and for us.

These are three thoughts from the priest’s preparation for Holy Mass that is made at the foot of the altar. We could have no better thoughts in preparing to unite with him in offering the Holy Sacrifice. When the priest goes up to the altar, he kisses it. He does so to show respect for Our Lord and for the relics of the saints that are in it.

The Introit

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After kissing the altar, the priest goes to the Mass book on the right. This is really the beginning of Holy Mass. Everything up to this moment has been in preparation. The priest makes the Sign of the Cross. He reads the first part in the Proper of the Mass. It is called the Introit. You already know that the parts of the Mass that change from day to day are called the Proper of the Mass.

In the Introit there is almost always a sentence from one of the Psalms. Hundreds of years ago the Introits were much longer. Often a whole Psalm was included. The Introits, at that time, were sing by the choir during a procession to the altar before Holy Mass. Today, many Introits are hard to understand because of the parts that are now omitted.

Often the Introit tells something about the feast of the day, as you can see in the Introit at the beginning of this lesson.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Confiteor Lesson 3

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Altar Boy: I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary, ever virgin, to blessed Michael the archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to you Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grevious fault. Therefore I beseech blessed Mary, ever virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, all the saints, and you, Father, to pray to the Lord our God for me.
Priest: May almighty God have mercy upon you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to life everlasting.
Altar Boy: Amen.
Priest: May the almighty and merciful God grant us pardon, absolution, and full remission of our sins.
Altar Boy: Amen.

After reciting Psalm 42, the priest bends way over. He is praying the Confiteor. This prayer gets it’s name from the first word of the prayer when it is said in Latin. Confiteor means “I confess.” Most children first learn this prayer when they are in second or third grade.

The Confiteor is a prayer that speakers of sorrow for sin. First, the priest recites the prayer. He tells God he has sinned. Then the altar boy says the same prayer. The Confiteor is said as a preparation to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the priest.

The prayer, as it is given at the beginning of this lesson, is just as the altar boy says it. When the priest makes this act of sorrow for his sins, one word is different. The priest says “and to you, brethren” instead of “and to you, Father.” The priest is telling the people that he has sinned. He wants them to know that he is sorry for having offended God.

When we pray the Confiteor, we want it to mean what it says. If this is true, we must hate our sins. We show God that we are truly sorry when we are determined to try our hardest not to do them again.

It would help us if, when we pray the Confiteor, we would think of the sin we commit which is most displeasing to God and ask His help not to do it again. We prove our sorrow by keeping away from sin.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

Psalm 42 Lesson 2

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After making the Sign of the Cross, the priest recites a verse from Psalm 42, and the altar boy replies. Then the whole Psalm is said. The priest says one verse; the altar boy says the next. We cannot hear what they are saying. But if we listen, we can hear their voices. Long ago, the Psalm was said by the priest before he came to the altar. It was part of his preparation for Holy Mass. Today, it is also part of his preparation. Now the Psalm is said by the priest as he stands at the foot of the altar.

The first verse the priest says is:
I will go to the altar of God.

That is just what the priest is doing. He is about to go up to the altar to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The altar boy replies:
To God, the joy of my youth.

Even the sound of these verses makes us feel happy. Let us repeat them to ourselves:
I will go to the altar of God,
To God, the joy of my youth.

These two lines are said in every Mass. The priest is happy. We are happy. It is our privilege to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to God. The whole Psalm, from which these lines are taken, is not said during the last two weeks of Lent or in Masses for the dead.

Psalm 42 first asks God to protect us from the enemy. Our greatest enemy is always the person or place or thing that causes us to sin. The Altar boy’s reply to the first verse of the Psalm is something to remember always, especially these words:

For Thou, God art my strength.

God is our strength. If we ask Him, He will help us.

There are beautiful thoughts in Psalm 42. Sometimes you will want to think about one of them, and sometimes about another. These thoughts were out into the words of the Psalm by King David. The Psalms are in the Bible.

Psalms 42 has six verses. After the Psalm has been recited, the priest begins “Glory be to the Father.” When this prayer is finished, the priest and altar boy recite the following verses. They repeat the thought of joy in going to the altar, and the thought of trust in God.

Priest: I will go to the altar of God.
Response: To God the joy of my youth
Priest: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Response: Who made heaven and earth.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Parts of the Mass Lesson 5

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Holy Mass has two large parts. The first part is called The Mass of the Catechumens. It consists of the prayers and readings from the beginning of Mass to the Offertory.

The word catechumens is a very old word. Long ago people who were preparing to receive the Sacrament of Baptism were called catechumens or learners. During the time of instruction, they were permitted to be present only at the first part of the Mass. They had to leave after the sermon. It was in this way that the first part of the Mass received the name, “Mass of the Catechumens” or the “Mass of the Learners.”

The second part of Holy Mass is called The Mass of the Faithful. This part of the Mass begins with the Offertory and continues to the end of Holy Mass.

The word faithful means baptized Christians. For several hundred years, only the baptized were allowed to assist at the second part of Holy Mass.

There is another division of the parts of Holy Mass. One part is called the  Ordinary of the Mass. The other part is called the Proper of the Mass.

The Ordinary of the Mass is made up of the prayers which, with few exceptions, do not change. The Proper consists of the prayers and readings that change from day to day.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

Externals of the Mass Lesson 4

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Externals are those things that one can see. The externals of the Mass are the objects used during Holy Mass that you can see. The Church has exact regulations for all the externals of the Mass.

The Altar

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The Altar is the most important object in a Catholic church. On the altar the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered. In the tabernacle of the altar the Blessed Sacrament is kept.

If possible, the top of every altar should be a stone slab. There should be five crosses engraved on this slab. The crosses represent the five wounds of Our Lord. There is one cross in the center and one at each of the four corners.

Sometimes, the top of an altar is not a stone slab. Then an altar stone is used. This altar stone may be as small as a large piece of tile. Five crosses are cut into the top of the altar stone. The crosses are just the same as on a large stone altar.

In the altar stone, or in the top of a stone altar, there is a small box. The box is made of lead. It contains relics of at least two saints who were martyrs.

The altar is always covered with three white cloths of linen. The first two cloths need cover only the top of the altar. Over these cloths a much longer one is placed. This cloth reaches to the floor on both sides. It is the real altar cloth.

Only three things are necessary on an altar. These three things are a crucifix and two candles. The candles must be made of beeswax. They are placed on each side of the crucifix.

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The priest reads from a large book during Holy Mass. This Mass book is called the Missal. It is on the right side of the altar when Mass begins. The Missal is placed on a book rest.

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The water and wine for Mass are put in two cruets. The cruets are little pitchers. They are used with a small dish. The cruets and dish are placed on a table near the altar. Sometimes they are placed on a shelf. When used, this little shelf is on a wall near the altar. At the side of the cruets there is a small white finger towel. This is used by the priest to dry his fingers.

The Vestments

The priest is told just what he should do in dressing for Holy Mass. He has a special prayer to say as he puts on each vestment. The word vestment means a garment that is different from everyday clothes.

Some vestments are plain. Others are very rich. But always vestments are dignified. They are made like clothes people wore hundreds of years ago.

The priest puts the vestments on over his black cassock. The cassock is the long black garment he wears. Vestments are of two kinds, outer vestments and linen vestments.

Outer Vestments

The chasuble is the large outer vestment. Long ago it was much longer. The chasuble and the other outer vestments are always the same color.

The stole is a long narrow vestment. The priest wears it about his neck and crossed on his breast. The stole worn during Holy Mass is made of the same material as the chasuble.

The maniple is worn on the priest’s left arm. It also is made of the same material as the chasuble.

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The Church tells the priest when he is to use different colors. Violet is used during Advent and Lent. White is used during Christmas and Easter time. White is also used on feasts of Our Lord, our Blessed Mother, and for saints who were not martyrs. Red is for the Holy Ghost and for saints who were martyrs. Black is for funerals and for Masses for the dead. Green is used when no special feast is to be celebrated. Sometimes, for special days, vestments of gold or silver cloth may be used. Violet, white, red, black, and green are called liturgical colors.

Linen Vestments

The amice is a white linen color. It is worn by the priest about the neck and over the shoulders.

The alb is the long white vestment. It is very wide. The sleeves reach down to the wrists.

The cincture is a long white cord. The priest ties it around his waist. The cincture holds the alb in place.

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What the Priest Carries

As the priest goes to the altar to offer Holy Mass, he is carrying several objects. Only the outer covering can be seen. The outer covering is called a veil. It is made of the same material and color as the vestments.

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The priest places on the altar the objects he is carrying. He puts them over the altar stone. He does so gently and carefully. He arranges the veil so that everyrhing looks very nice.

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The burse is a hard square folder. It is on top of what the priest carries. The burse is covered with the same material as the vestments. The priest carries the corporal in the burse.

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The corporal is a large square of linen. Before Holy Mass begins, the priests opens the corporal. He places upon it all he has been carrying.

After consecrating the Sacred Host, the priest places it upon the corporal. The chalice also rests upon it. If a drop of the blood of Jesus should spill, it would fall on the corporal. The corporal is a very sacred cloth. No one is allowed to wash it except a priest, or one who is almost ready to be made a priest. No one may touch the corporal until the priest has first washed it. Only then may some one else complete the washing and iron it.

The chalice and paten are under the veil. The paten is a small gold-like plate. On it is the large host. This is the host which is to be consecrated during Holy Mass. The chalice is empty. It is the scared vessel in which the wine will be consecrated. The chalice and paten are always made of gold, or of silver with the inside of the cup gilded.

This is the way the objects are placed under the veil at the beginning of Holy Mass:

1. The chalice stands on the altar.
2. A linen cloth, called the purifactor, is placed across the cup of the chalice. This cloth is folded three times lengthwise. It hangs down on each side. The purificator is used to clean inside the chalice. Like the corporal, the purificator is a very sacred cloth. It also is washed first by the priest.

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3. On the purificator rests the paten. The host is on the paten.
4. The paten is covered with a square piece of starched line. This cover is called the pall. During Holy Mass the priest uses the pall to cover the chalice.

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Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!