Army Travel Mass Kit


We as the congregation would like to purchase a travel Mass kit for our Army Priest serving in Iraq and I would like to open it up for suggestions. Two things to keep in mind is that our Priest will have to travel via helicopter and only able to bring what he can carry. He will also have to carry a couple days worth of supplies, clothing, etc so space and weight is limited. What we have seen in the past is a cloth bag, easier to shove into a duffle / ruck sack, and sturdy supplies. We like the Army design, but want to get him something special and a little nicer.

When giving suggestions think bare essentials but able to hold a full bottle of wine and at least few hundred hosts. One kit that I saw a while ago included a chalice, ciborium, and paten that disassembled and then re-assembled into smaller collective. Anyone have any suggestions via a reputable web site? It need not be a single kit, we can assemble it from pieces if needed.

Also, we are thinking about including,

  1. Crucifix
  2. Chalice
  3. Ciborium
  4. Paten
  5. Small Candle holders (can get candles through supply)
  6. Small water and wine bottle (refillable)
  7. Small bowl for cleaning hands

All cloth items can be obtained through supply channels, but the bag would need to be big enough to include finger towels, purificators, travel stole, etc.


I’ve no suggestion beyond the normal standard military cloth sack (and I’m not sure why that wouldn’t suffice: I would think the contents would be more memorable than the sack itself), but there should also be a Missal (and, if this is for the OF, I suppose a lectionary too). Plus, while it may not be “required” these days, it would be nice to include a portable altar stone (or, as was frequently used in WWII and Korea, a Byzantine antimension). The latter are, of course, not available for sale. There is also the matter of vestments. At least until the time of the Korean War, there were very light-weight sets available precisely for this purpose. Admittedly they were a little flimsy, but they served the intended purpose.

Don’t guess. Ask someone who knows. Contact the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA:

Paten and Ciborium
Appropriate Cloths
Sizeable Box

++The most important thing would be 2 Corporals with relics sewn in the center++
An altar stone would be more complicated but if possible can be obtained

It is not necessary for corporals to have relics sewn into the center. (I have never seen one, to be honest.) If there is any embroidery on a corporal, it should be as flat as possible, so it will have no negative consequences as far as the stability of a chalice set upon it or crevices from which small fragments of the Blessed Sacrament would be difficult to pick out. This is why corporals are usually not pressed with hard creases, as purificators are, but simply folded.

Before choosing altar linens, consult first with someone who is familiar with the climate. It is wise to take the tendency of certain fabrics to support mold into consideration, for instance.

An altar stone, though desirable in other respects, might not be welcome a regular passenger on helicopters. This is another issue to check out with the military ordinariate.

It is not necessary for corporals to have relics sewn into the center. (I have never seen one, to be honest.)

I believe the reference is for use in lieu of an altar stone, similar to the [post=6395233]antimension[/post] mentioned earlier. It has nothing to do with embroidery or any other decoration.

The only mention of relics in the current GIRM is for placement in sacred places, under fixed altars. Outside of a sacred place, only a suitable table, an altar cloth, a corporal, a cross, and candles are mentioned. There is no mention anywhere in the GIRM of incorporating authenticated relics into altar linens, only that the altar linens be made of a durable white fabric, not paper. IOW, there is no requirement for a relic or an altar stone when Mass is celebrated outside of a sacred place.

When the Mass kit has to travel via helicopter into areas hostile to the faith, the altar stone and relic may not even be practical. Again, though, this is something to ask the liturgy people working for the bishop of the military ordinariate. He is the chief liturgist in this case. His office could say whether relics in altar kits are encouraged, discouraged, or forbidden by the bishop.

From the GIRM:
*297. The celebration of the Eucharist in a sacred place is to be carried out on an altar; but outside a sacred place, it may be carried out on a suitable table, always with the use of a cloth, a corporal, a cross, and candles.

  1. In keeping with the Church’s traditional practice and the altar’s symbolism, the table of a fixed altar is to be of stone and indeed of natural stone. In the dioceses of the United States of America, however, wood which is worthy, solid, and well-crafted may be used, provided that the altar is structurally immobile. The supports or base for upholding the table, however, may be made of any sort of material, provided it is worthy and solid.

A movable altar may be constructed of any noble and solid materials suited to liturgical use, according to the traditions and usages of the different regions.

  1. The practice of placing relics of Saints, even those not Martyrs, under the altar to be dedicated is fittingly retained. Care should be taken, however, to ensure the authenticity of such relics.*

Besides, considering current Canon Law, I don’t know if it is even licit to obtain a relic without explicit permission from Rome, let alone for possession by a private party:

*Can. 1190 ß1 It is absolutely wrong to sell sacred relics.

ß2 Distinguished relics, and others which are held in great veneration by the people, may not validly be in any way alienated nor transferred on a permanent basis, without the permission of the Apostolic See.

ß3 The provision of ß2 applies to images which are greatly venerated in any church by the people. *

Yes, I know all about that, which is why I said in an earlier post:

Keep in mind that it was formerly required, and just because it may no longer be so does not mean that it is forbidden. There are many priests who will not offer Mass without using a consecrated stone (or its equivalent).

It’s not a “relic in a Mass kit” but rather it’s a portable altar stone (or equivalent). They were commonly used in the military at least up until the mid-1960s. Nothing forbids their use now.

This is not an issue. They don’t just crank them out for “private” use. An altar stone, portable or otherwise, must be consecrated by a bishop or his delegate. (The same is true for the Eastern and Oriental equivalents.)

No, with regards to the “relic in a Mass kit”, I was referring to a corporal with a relic sewn into it. It isn’t necessary, and I’m not sure permission to obtain one is even available now. Altar stones are a separate issue.

As for the use of altar stones by military chaplains, that would be something their bishop could require, encourage, discourage, or forbid. But no, I know of no rule that forbids it, of course not. I was only thinking that the bishop for the military could, in consultation with the civilian leaders of the military, decide that they would not be allowed in combat zones, or in helicopters, or whatever, for a variety of reasons. For instance, altar stones could conceivably be forbidden because the civilian leaders have asked if carry-ons containing even slabs of rock of a very limited size couldn’t be left off of the helicopters. Conversely, altar stones might be required equipment because of the regular inavailability of tables suitable for Mass. Or maybe they’re great if you have them, but not something that it is practical to require. That kind of thing. It is such a special case, it is hard to say. One would really have to ask the people who know.

I give up. :shrug:

Here is a website:
It is kind of small but I think it could still work.
You can get a first class relic here:

Here is one fro Autom for about $150:|304477|304489|17547&id=214273

It’s on backorder, though, and won’t ship until mid-May.

That is great, I saw that same kit on another site, but for $100 more. Thank you so much.

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