Adding water to wine

After all these years I’ve either just noticed or increasingly noticed something that is done differently by different priests and realized I don’t have a clue as to why . . . when adding the water to the wine during Mass, some priests add a little (or a lot) to ALL the chalices into which the wine has been distributed/divided, while other priests only add the water into one chalice, the “main” one, the one which they elevate.

Can someone explain? :blush:

This isn’t strictly regulated by the rubrics. It’s just as licit to add to the “main” chalice only as it is to add to all the chalices. Just the other week, I saw a priest add water only to the flagon before it was poured out into multiple chalices on the altar. I’m not sure if that was according to Hoyle, because the GIRM specifically says “water… into the chalice” (paragraph 142.)

The GIRM (General Instruction for the Roman Missal) presumes that only a single chalice will be used. For that reason, the rubrics are in the singular.

The Congregation for Divine Worship answered the question in 2012.

Here’s a link to the response. It’s in PDF format but not as a text, so I cannot paste the text here.

Here’s a summary of what was said
courtesy of the Archdiocese of Omaha

The bottom line is that it’s optional either way.

Here’s the text from the USCCB website

CDWDS Offers Guidance on the Mixture of Wine and Water at Mass
The Secretariat of Divine Worship frequently receives inquiries about the practice of mixing water and wine in
the chalice during the preparation of the gifts at Mass, specifically how this is to be carried out if there are
several chalices prepared when Holy Communion is distributed under both species. In a letter dated April 30,
2012 (Prot. n. 1193/11/L), Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, O.P., Secretary of the Congregation for Divine
Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, offered to Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Committee Chairman,
an observation regarding the practice, as the Congregation, too, has received questions about how to interpret
and enact the rubrics in this regard.
Archbishop Di Noia writes: “[T]his Congregation takes the view that it is sufficient for the water to be added
only to the chalice used by the main Celebrant. The addition of water to the other chalices, however, would not
in any way be considered to be an abuse.” Canon 924 §1 states, “The most holy Eucharistic sacrifice must be
offered with bread and with wine in which a little water must be mixed.” Still, it has long been held, and
affirmed by the Council of Trent, that the ritual mixing of wine and water is symbolic of the blood and water
flowing from Christ’s side as he hung upon the cross. The words spoken as the gesture is carried out, “By the
mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in
our humanity,” also indicate that the mixing represents the unification of Christ’s divinity with our humanity

Thank you all so much! I knew there “had to be a reason,” but simply didn’t have a clue and was beginning to obsess a bit on watching who was adding water where. :o

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