First rinse with used altar linen question

Shouldn’t the first rinse be done in the Sacristy, and the water poured into the soil or down the sacrarium?

At my Church the soiled purificators and corporals are kept in a drawer and someone takes them home and supposedly does the proper procedure in their residence. We have no sacrarium. I am a sacristan and have been told by the other sacristan that she doesn’t think the woman who picks up and washes actually does a first rinse.

As a sacristan I am offering to do the first rinse in the sacristy and drain the water into the soil outside the sacristy door, then the linen could be sent out for the proper laundering as usual. It seems however that this being met with resistence from the other sacristan. I am talking to my Pastor and he seems to believe that the way it has been done is normal in parishes, with lay people taking the used altar linen home. I have a problem with the idea of the Sacred Particles still in corporals and Sacred Blood still in purificators being transported in cars and going into homes and being cared for in a haphazard manner.

Church documents seem to indicate that parishes have a sacrarium for this purpose. I see nothing that indicates that it’s OK to take the used linen with the Sacred species still on them into people’s home later.

My Pastor is very traditional believes in doing things according to Church standards and rules and is willing to meet with me about this, but from our brief conversation on the phone he seems to think this is normal procedure in a lot of parishes. I don’t know if it’s normal, but it doesn’t seem right to me. He is setting up an appointment however to discuss this .

What actually goes on in other parishes?

You are correct, it shjould be done right after Mass. They can then be hung to dry before being picked up.

In our parish, the ladies that pick up the linen, have pretty intense instructions about how to rinse and where to put that rinse water. (Yes, to the flower bed, no to the bushes that your dog pees on.)

That said, we started doing this after the sacristan broke. We are in the process of building a new church, so I don’t know if we are having the sink fixed. :shrug:

I can recall that two parishes ago, where there was no sacrarium in the sacristy either, a procedure similar to what you’ve described went on. The only thing was that the lady who brought home the linens was the wife of a deacon–and very reverent–and so I have no doubt she followed the proper procedures for their laundering.

The same thing also goes on at the parish I’m currently at, except I don’t know the lady who launders the linens personally; I’ve only seen her carrying baskets of soiled altar linens home.

I have never seen anything which demands that the first rinse be done in the sacristy, although it would seem to make most sense this way. If there is doubt that proper washing procedures are being followed, then you can insist on taking care of that first wash yourself.

I don’t think “normal procedure in a lot of parishes” is relevant.

You can see what the USCCB recommends here: usccb.org/liturgy/innews/032001.shtml Scroll down to the article entitled “The Care and Cleansing of Altar Linens.”

Some relevant excerpts:

Unless the altar cloths have been stained with the Precious Blood, it is not necessary that they be cleaned in the sacrarium.

When corporals are cleansed they should first be rinsed in a sacrarium and only afterwards washed with laundry soaps in the customary manner.

Because of their function, purificators regularly become stained with the Precious Blood. It is, therefore, essential that they should first be cleansed in a sacrarium and only afterwards washed with laundry soaps in the customary manner.

In order that palls may be kept immaculately clean they should be made with removable covers of a worthy material which may be easily washed in the sacrarium and then laundered.

Your Bishop should require it to be fixed.

Yes, he SHOULD. Will he? I have no idea.

Whether or not there is a sacrarium, it’s been the practice for ages to keep used linens (mainly corporals and purificators) in a sacristy drawer before rinsing. But after rinsing, they still have to be fully laundered. It’s a matter of practicality: once the linens are rinsed, they’re wet, which means (a) someone has to string a clothes-line (in the sacristy?) to dry them (only to get them wet again when laundered), or (b) stuff them wet in a laundry bag so they can mildew. What makes the most sense to me is © rinsing immediately before laundering. The rinsing can be done in the sacristy (preferably in a sacrarium, but else in a bucket which is drained outside on natural soil or, at the very least, indoors with the water used to water a plant), and then proceed to the laundering. As long as the damp linens are laundered within a reasonable time, mildew is not an issue.

Thank you for the replies. My meeting with Father went well this morning. He told us what he wants done now that this has been brought to his attention. He said the first thing he noticed when he came to our parish was the lack of a sacrarium. He wants the altar linen to be rinsed in a special container the day before they are to be picked up to be laundered. This first rinse water is to be poured on the sacred gound of the Church where there is no access for dogs or cats to soil the area. He says ideally it would be under the Church building as a sacrarium would have it, but since we are on a concrete slab so we will have to go next to the Church. I am very blessed to have a good priest.:slight_smile:

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