A Sacristan question

Is is against the rubrics to reuse the water in the ablution cup used by the Eucharistic ministers? (leaving it to sit on the altar for up to a week at a time, or sometimes sits in the sacristy for days) Shouldn’t it be drained into the ground after each Mass or into a sacrarium? Also the water in the ablution bowl, doesn’t that water need to be drained properly into the soil after each Mass? Does anyone have any official document regarding this?

I was a Sacristan for over twelve years. First of all the actual water used by the priest at the ablution during the Eucharist prayer is (“not”) blessed. Nor are there any laws in the Church stating that such water should be blessed. As for the fresh tap water used; the old ablution water is later poured down a regular drain and typically should be replenished for each Mass. Ablution water is again just regular fresh tap water and is not to be poured down the Sequirium.

Thank you for your response. What about possible particles from the fingertips that would be washed into the water from the Eucharistic ministers fingers? As for the ablution water, I thought the priest blessed the water when the altar server brings it to him. My priest seems to bless the water. He makes the sign of the cross over it.

I’ve have seen some priest’s in Catholic Churches use the same water for the ablution and the consecration. Normally; although I may be mistaken this is not the practice norm.
When the priest blesses the water it’s usually the water and wine inside the cruets that he blesses and pours into the chalice. (Consecrated “Wine representing the Blood of Christ”.) the drop of water in the Chalice representing our humanity. The ablution water used by the priest washing his hands before consecration has no consecrated particles of the host.

Please bear with me.
From what you are saying, the water from the cruets would never have Particles in it, and would not need to be poured into the ground. Thank you for that clarification.

As far as the ablution cup at Mass, I can see that it is not blessed water, but it could have Particles from the Host from the fingertips of the Eucharistic Ministers, since this is its purpose. Why would this go down a regular sink?

Thank you for your help.

That’s a good question. The head sacristan takes care of the ablution cups here. The water always looks clear so I don’t think it sits around for long.

Regarding a previous post- the water may not be blessed, however, the fingers that touched the Sacred Hosts were rinsed in this water, so I would think that it would not be proper to go down the drain.

I think the confusion here is that you are referring to post-Communion ablutions which I have never seen done in the past 25 years. Most people would only think of the washing of hands during the Prayer over the gifts.

You are correct. We have two “post-Communion” ablution cups (one for the priest at the tabernacle and one on the purification table for the EMHC after Communion. The water from washing the priests hands is poured down the sink. I asked Father about that one time and he said that it was not blessed. I can’t remember his exact explanation, because I mentioned that he blessed the water before putting the drop in the chalice but he said that the water was not blessed.

Hang on here folks. I see some confusion as to what’s being discussed.

The ablution water is that which the priest uses to cleanse his fingertips after distributing Holy Communion (if there’s no altar boy to pour the water over his fingertips into the chalice). This water indeed MUST be poured into the ground, or into the sacrarium (which itself empties into the ground), because it contains particles which once were the Body of Christ.

This water need not be changed very frequently, but it should be changed regularly (say once a month for example).

On the other hand, the water which the priest uses at the offertory to ritually wash his hands may be poured down the drain (although into the sacrarium would not be a problem).


At the offertory, the priest blesses the water, but he doesn’t bless the water.

How’s that for an explanation?!

In other words, it is a “quick blessing” but the water is not made into “Holy Water.”

That is what my former pastor said. :slight_smile:

Thank you Father for the clarification. :slight_smile:

As for the ablution water, I thought the priest blessed the water when the altar server brings it to him. My priest seems to bless the water. He makes the sign of the cross over it.

He is blessing the mixture of wine and water in the Chalice, not blessing the ablution water.

He blesses it before he mixes it with the wine.
See Fr. David’s post.

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