Is this allowed?

This Lenten season, there is a new "program" at our parish.

I don't recall the exact title, but what it involves is a family brings home a chalice for it to be a focal point of prayer. There was a description of the program in the bulletin, stating that it would be a consecrated chalice, and that nothing should be put into it.

I'm a little confused, if the chalice is consecrated, doesn't it mean that it should only be used at Mass for the Liturgy of the Eucharist?

If it isn't a correct, and licit practice, is there any resource i could use as a reference?

Thank you in advance for your help.

I have heard of this and have seen this practice at several parishes. It is called Elijah's cup and the hosting family is supposed to pray for vocations.

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:1, topic:188150"]
This Lenten season, there is a new "program" at our parish.

I don't recall the exact title, but what it involves is a family brings home a chalice for it to be a focal point of prayer. There was a description of the program in the bulletin, stating that it would be a consecrated chalice, and that nothing should be put into it.

I'm a little confused, if the chalice is consecrated, doesn't it mean that it should only be used at Mass for the Liturgy of the Eucharist?

If it isn't a correct, and licit practice, is there any resource i could use as a reference?

Thank you in advance for your help.

[/quote]

The chalice is consecrated for a specific use and it cannot be used for anything else. It looks like it was made it clear that it should not be used for anything else. I do not see anything wrong to treat it as you would treat a relic.

As I said, I have seen this practice, but wasn't sure how it got started so did a bit of digging and discovered that it is one of the programs of the Serra Club (which is a lay organization supporting vocations to the priesthood and religious life)

At one time it was the rule that we shouldn't even touch such vessels, that nothing unconsecrated should touch that which is consecrated, unfortunately that rule went by the wayside when extraordinary ministers of holy communion where introduced, now sacred things are often treat like mere trinkets.

So while what is happening is probably allowed as far as the rule of the law goes it is not wise or prudential and the catholic in me finds it deeply disturbing.

They have started this at my home parish (where I usually don't attend) and when I heard about it I wrote a letter to the pastor addressing my concerns. Since I am on the diocesan liturgy commission I also brought it up there. All on the commission agreed that it was not a good thing to do since liturgical vessels should be used only for the purpose they are intended for. I am concerned that kids might use it to drink out of when mom isn't around, that it could get knocked around or dropped. I think there are better ways to pray for vocations. At my work parish we started a monthly holy hour specifically to pray for vocations.

Last year I lived in a smaller city with 1 parish. They started a program last fall where a family would take home a very beautiful icon (or maybe it was closer to a statue?) of the Blessed Virgin Mary for a week, and I can't remember exactly but I believe the idea was to promote the family to pray the rosary together (or something along those lines). The icons/statues were even blessed by the priest!

This seems to be along the same idea, but I agree that it seems improper to use a chalice that is meant to hold the precious blood.

In our parish there are special Crucifixes that a family or person can sign out and take home to pray before for vocations. I like this idea better than that of a consecrated chalice for the reasons others have given.

Yes an icon or statue is a much better idea and does have some basis in our tradition. Many parishes have a "traveling Fatima statue" that people can have for a week. Praying before icons is an ancient practice that many people are recently discovering, especially thanks to Taize prayer in some parishes. Icons are "windows" that help the person praying look beyond the icon itself into the mystery of what is represented. The icon of Christ the High Priests that the USCCB had commissioned for the Year for the Priest is a beautiful example. I am just disappointed that it was not made available for purchase. I downloaded it and mounted it on a board, antiquing it a bit so that it looks like a real icon and I keep it in the office reminding us to pray for our priests and for vocations. I have another one available for people to take home for a week if they want to pray at home but so far people haven't really caught on, perhaps because the priests haven't pushed it. Perhaps at our next holy hour for vocations I will ask the priest to encourage people to take the icon for a week.

[quote="Joannm, post:6, topic:188150"]
They have started this at my home parish (where I usually don't attend) and when I heard about it I wrote a letter to the pastor addressing my concerns. Since I am on the diocesan liturgy commission I also brought it up there. All on the commission agreed that it was not a good thing to do since liturgical vessels should be used only for the purpose they are intended for. I am concerned that kids might use it to drink out of when mom isn't around, that it could get knocked around or dropped. I think there are better ways to pray for vocations. At my work parish we started a monthly holy hour specifically to pray for vocations.

[/quote]

It seems to me that time set aside for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament - a holy hour - would probably be the best way for laity to pray for vocations, or indeed a Holy Mass offered for the intention on a set day each month/week. I know that each Thursday in my cathedral the Rosary which is prayed each day after Mass is offered for vocations.

No one will deny that prayer is central to attracting vocations - prayer should be central to our lives as Christians anyway - but I always wonder what are these parishes/dioceses actively doing to promote vocations. I mean, prayer will go a long way, but as I see it, one of the surest ways of attracting men to priesthood is holy and orthodox priests. A priest may say a prayer for vocations after Holy Communion but if the Mass he has just celebrated has been casual, an "improvised" missal, or full of abuses can he reasonably expect his prayer to bear much fruit? Certainly what inspires me and gives me a greater love, understanding and appreciation of the Holy Mass is when a priest celebrates the Mass with great reverence and devotion, following the missal and showing great care for the Blessed Sacrament. Outside of the church building, we all have a duty to ensure that priesthood and religious life is presented as an option to young people and that they will be supported if they say "yes"...

As to the O.P.'s question, I'm not sure if there's a document that says that such a practice is wrong - and I doubt there's one stating explicitly that it's ok. My view would be that it should be used for its purpose - holding the Precious Blood at Mass. I think using the chalice in a Mass offered for vocations would be putting it to better use. The GIRM [327] says that the sacred vessels "are held in special honour" because of their purpose - surely the greatest honour which can be given to it is to let it "do its job" and hold the Precious Blood?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.