Gloves for Servers Touching the Chalice

Recently at my parish, we are having servers who touch the chalice wear gloves. Not for aesthetic reasons (although it looks cool), but out of reverence (before the council, no one but the priest could touch the chalice).

Now… I’m sure many people will ask me about this, since it was my initiative (I am the MC in real life too :)). I’m not sure how to explain it well to people besides giving the impression that we are “turning back the clock,” which some people hate to hear.

Could anyone help me formulate a few sentences on how to explain this to people, without saying something like “Because that’s how they did it before VII”?

Note: please stay on topic. If you want to discuss the gloves or anything else, please PM me or start another thread.


Will the servers wear the gloves before and/or after consecration? I’m not well versed in how different things are now versus before since I’m a fairly recent convert.

In your position, I would likely point to the history behind it, but leave out any reference to why it changed…just that you all wanted to go back to the way it was done.

Why not just say that you decided to have them wear gloves in order to remind them and the congregation of the sacredness of the chalice and its contents?

It’s difficult to comment without a little more background, and it would be helpful to know a bit more as to what is meant by use of gloves: are the gloves used before or during Mass (and I assume this is the Novus Ordo)? What are the servers doing with the chalice? When are the gloves donned? Are the gloves put on and then removed, or do they stay on the whole while?

I would just say that the gloves are a reminder to the server to protect and to care for the sacred vessels, not just for their monetary value but for the purpose they serve at Mass.

Excellent! Maybe I was over thinking this a little bit. Simple, concise, and complete.

Some additional info:
*]This is in the Novus Ordo (it’s a non-issue in the EF, except maybe before a high Mass)
*]The gloves will be used when the server is 1) Preparing the chalice before Mass and bringing it to the credence table, 2) at the offertory when he brings it to the altar, 3) After Communion when he puts it back on the credence table, and 4) after Mass, when he returns it to the sacristy for the priest to purify.
*]They will probably stay on all during Mass, but if there’s many servers, they might discreetly take them off and put them on. But only if there will be no extra distraction. For daily Masses, definitely just keep them on for the one server.

Here’s another way I might explain it to people:
“Historically/traditionally/in the church’s history, the only one to touch the chalice was the priest, because his hands were consecrated, and the chalice is sacred because it holds the blood of God. We are trying to restore a sense of reverence and awe, for the sacred mysteries, and it only seems fitting for the servers to not directly touch it.”

How can you site tradition in the donning of gloves if this was not the tradition pre vatican II? Would it be better accomplished by only having the priest handle the chalice? I like anything that promotes greater reverence and awareness of the Holiness of the Eucharist. But at the same time, is it sending the message that EM’s are Uzzah’s? (The touch of our hands consecrated to God’s service - somehow now profane) They(we) are called by God to this duty, trained in fear, faith, and reverence. I like all the other changes [liturgical / Roman Missal III] coming out for November, but this is… kind of an isolated instance of a man-made one is it not? Is it necessary? The communicants will accept the chalice into their hands and receive the Blood of Christ… I agree with the goal, but not the means.

I think the gloves provide the risk of profanation of the Precious Blood because they could cause the chalice to slip out of a person’s hands. Unless the gloves have grippers on them.

Wouldn’t the gloves be an innovation? Isn’t that what we are all trying to avoid?

The tradition is lay people not touching the chalice, not specifically how it is accomplished, in this case, wearing gloves.

Yes, but there’s two issues that I see with this.

In the OF, the chalice is usually on the credence table until the offertory. It would be somewhat awkward for the priest to go over to the credence table, then to the altar.

I’m talking about gloves when carrying the (empty) chalice to the credence table, then the altar, and then carrying the (empty) chalice to the credence table, then to the sacristy.

OK, thanks. The extra information helps.

Since, as I expected, this is at the Novus Ordo, there’s little I will say by way of direct comment.

That’s not exactly correct. In pre-conciliar times (and still in the Usus Antiquior), people other than priests did indeed touch the sacred vessels (it’s not only the chalice that comes into play, but also the paten), outside of Mass. For example, sometimes it’s the server (or the deacon or subdeacon) who places the vessels on the credence. And then there’s the sacristan who has to handle them to clean and polish them, etc. You see what I mean.

Now, during Mass it was (and, in the Usus Antiquior, still is) only the bishop or priest (or, at Solemn Mass, the deacon and subdeacon) who handles the vessels.

With that in mind, following is a slightly (well, maybe a little more than “slightly” :o) revised text for consideration.

“Historically/traditionally in the Church, the only ones to touch the chalice and paten were the sacred ministers. Those are called the “sacred vessels” because they will hold the Body and Blood of Our Lord. . Our Holy Father wants to restore a sense of reverence and awe for the sacred mysteries, and so it only seems fitting for the servers to not directly touch the sacred vessels.”

Excellent. Thanks for the other comments too. They are helpful. While I may have been off on some of the details, I guess my main point (that I guess you’d probably agree with) is that respect for the chalice is good, and this can be one way of doing that.

And I don’t know where that “blood of God” thing came from. I guess I was blanking out there. :whacky:

Does your parish offer the Precious Blood at the Communion Rite?

I spend July of last year on a mission trip to western Tanzania. Our parish sponsors a ‘sister parish’ and we were over there helping with several projects.

The local bishop ( +Minde) came to celebrate Mass with us. Not only did the altarboys not touch the chalice, but the two that were attending the bishop worn a humerial veil type thing that covered their hands when they held the tokens of the bishops office ( the miter and the crozier)

Here is a pic of the garment. The yellow scarf type thing had pockets on the end for the hands to fit into. The altar boy would place his hands in those prior to recieving the bishop’s miter, or to hold the crozier

I think that’s called a vimpa.

I always think this is pretty cool. It adds a lot of reverence to the Mass, and also seems to be one more safeguard to being flippant with the pontificals.

A while ago, my bishop gave a catechesis on why the vestments, particularly the pontificals, are sacred, which is why he prefers vimpae (when possible) instead of leaning the crosier against the wall and the mitre on an empty chair. :slight_smile:

I think this is an important question. It would seem strange if the servers wore gloves while handling an empty chalice, only to have EMHC’s *not *wear gloves while administering the Precious Blood. And as someone who regularly administers the Precious Blood, I can tell you I would fear to do so while wearing gloves due to fear of slippage.

The gloves sounds to me, like adding to the rubrics, making things to complicated, and attempting to make the Ordinary Usage into the Extraordinary Usage.

I would also be interested what some one asked above about your parish ‘allowing’ the faithful the Precious Blood.

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