Thursday, January 9, 2020


The EF Mass, as in all things, has very strict rubrics about the ablutions. No so the OF Mass, not so.

Because of the proliferation of chalices due to the common chalice offered to numerous communicants and from the same chalice, there are more chalices to be cleansed after Holy Communion from two to 12, if not more, depending on the parish community.

Every parish I have served has had the common chalice. Because there are so many chalices to be cleansed the practice has been for the extraordinary ministers to consume what remains of the Precious Blood and place the chalice on the credence table with the purificator on top of it.

After Mass an instituted acolyte or deacon (or in their absence) an extraordinary minister does the ablutions in the sacristy. After the first ablution, the chalices are then washed with soap and hot water due to the number of communicants drinking from the same chalice.

This has been the practice at my current parish too. For daily Mass, though, we have two additional chalices for the laity.  My biggest phobia with the common chalice isn't so much drinking after someone who precedes me, but doing the ablutions on all the chalices and drinking the dregs as well as the water place into the chalice. I personally find it disgusting and I offer up my sacrifice of doing so for the poor souls in purgatory.

What I do to cut down on germs to me is to place a great deal of water in the first chalice and then transfer it to the other chalice and finally to my chalice and then drink it from it.

I am convinced that I have chronic colds and sinus issues due to the infinite number of germs and bacteria I consume in my daily sacrifice.

With the laity drinking the ablutions and cleansing the chalices after Mass in the sacristy, one never knows if what exists of the Precious Blood is profaned or irreverence is shown in the sacristy while cleansing the chalices, through useless chatter and laughing.

Because of the public health crisis concerning the epidemic of the flu spreading in Georgia and elsewhere, St. Anne's has discontinued the use of the common chalice for public health reasons.

Not only has it made the distribution of Holy Communion in line with Vatican II's desire for noble simplicity, now I do the ablutions for my chalice at the altar after Holy Communion and redress the chalice as in day of old.

And I am not worried by the constant exposure to viruses and bacterial infections I experience in drinking the ablutions at daily Mass.

What I worry about are all the waiting poor souls in purgatory that will not benefit any longer from my sacrifice of ablutions at daily Mass.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

By adding a great deal of water to the chalice, you do not cut down the number of germs that you ingest. You simply dilute them.

Your phobia should remain in place, so the poor souls in purgatory aren't losing anything.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

At daily Mass, I am no longer cleaning the laity's chalices as I did prior to the public health crisis of the flu. So I am only cleaning my chalice which I alone drink from. Thus no sacrifice in drinking diluted ablutions with thousands of germs and bacteria and the poor souls no longer benefit from my sacrifice as it has ceased.

Dan said...

Yes, the water will dilute the germs, BUT the water is likely chlorinated and so should kill a few.

Tom Makin said...

Why not do what is done at my parish....No chalice except the one the Priest consumes from? Why keep this "common chalice" thing going at all? Just stop it.

John Nolan said...

Fr McDonald

I'm sorry, your post makes no sense. When the priest consumes the Precious Blood at his Communion the sacrifice is complete. There is no sacrifice involved when performing the ablutions, and if you perform them according to the older rite, what's the problem?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

You have previously claimed that you know lots and lots and lots of people who have become ill from drinking the ablutions from the common cup.

Now you tell us that when tap water that has been chlorinated is added to the cup for ablutions, it kills off the germs, even if only a few.

So, which is it going to be? Use of the common cup especially for those who must clean them, is virulently dangerous, or using chlorinated tap water kills enough terms that you're not going to get sick?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Touche John Nolan. It's drinking the ablutions from chalices used by EMHC that is the problem and tongue and cheek I hate, despise and detest doing so and thus my suffering is for the poor souls in purgatory but of course so too is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but that's Jesus' sufferings.

Dan said...

You are confusing me with someone else. I am NOT a germaphobe, and have argued here that fear is mostly unreasonable, and that there are more germs on the handles to the doors to the Church. I am a microbiologist. Very quick on the Paul Lynde routine...

Anonymous said...

Paragraph 279 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal directs that the sacred vessels are to be purified . The US bishops asked for and were granted an indult allowing EMHC to purify the vessels "for a period of three years". When the time expired the president of the USCCB requested an extension, but it was NOT GRANTED (Prot. n. 468/05/L Rome, 12 October 2006). Number 4. of that letter from the Vatican said, "Paragraph 279 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal directs that the sacred vessels are to be purified by the priest, the deacon or an instituted acolyte. The status of this text as legislation has recently been clarified by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. It does not seem feasible, therefore, for the Congregation to grant the requested indult from this directive in the general law of the Latin Church."

Noteworthy is that directives from the Worship Office of the Atlanta Archdiocese issued October 27, 2006 directed that parishes stop the practice of EMHC cleansing the sacred vessels.


John Nolan said...

Regarding EMHC, they do not purify the sacred vessels unless they are instituted acolytes. However, they do consume any of the Precious Blood remaining in their particular chalices, and the thought of drinking the dregs of a cup from which dozens of people have slurped is distinctly unappealing.

A practical alternative would be for the priest to perform his own ablutions (which constitute a liturgical rite and are accompanied by a prayer, the Quod ore sumpsimus). That which remains in the 'common' chalices could, after Mass, be diluted to the extent that it is no longer wine and can then be poured down the sacrarium.

Better still, administer Holy Communion in one species only and dispense with EMHC altogether.

Anonymous said...

For 99.99995% of the Masses said, those common chalices should not be used. It is fairly common for public health students (with an anti-religious attitude) to sample holy water which is plated onto agar to demonstrate the large numbers of bacteria it contains. Public Health concern is valid. The sloppiness of handling of those common cups is another reason to limit their use.