Liturgical Vessels at Home

My husband and I starting putting together a home altar, and it quickly turned into an entire room we now fondly call “the chapel.” He is Eastern Catholic, so it features a lot of icons, but we wanted to also make available various instruments that would aid in many types of personal prayer, such as rosaries, incense, candles, Bibles, etc.

Is it inappropriate to have certain liturgical vessels in a home setting? We were interested in having an aspergillum, but I am wondering if that should be reserved for a consecrated space or official liturgies.

Very good question.

Would having a chalice (Not to be used by anyone who wasn’t a Priest) but to remember and direct prayer for the clergy, Seminarians, Consecrated Religious and for an increase in vocations be OK?

Waiting to hear from :

@edward_george1 or @InThePew or from one of the Deacons here.

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I’ve known of many people who have had these items in their homes - with the provision that they were never used. Specifically, I’m referring to patens and chalices that were “in fashion” for a period of time made of ceramic or other materials not really suitable per the GIRM, and when the “crack down” came, we cleaned out the sacristy and some devout, long-serving volunteers took these items home. Otherwise, they went into archives or were properly destroyed. The few we had that could still be used and we didn’t need were donated to parishes in need.

Edit to add: outside of a vessel specific to the Eucharist or other related to a sacrament (such as the holy oils), other such items have no particular reservation requirement. Why can’t a layperson use holy water with an aspergillium just as they would from a font or bottle, as long as they’re doing so with the same intent and purpose and not ‘playing priest’?

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The first blessing in the Book of Blessings is “Order for the Blessing of a Family”. Some rubrics for this ceremony:

“57 A minister who is a priest or deacon says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched over the family members; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined.”

“59 As circumstances suggest, the minister in silence may sprinkle the family with holy water.”

So it would be incorrect to say that a lay person cannot use an aspergillum.

In the General Introduction to the Book of Blessings it explains how, for example, a priest should not preside at a blessing if a bishop is present: “Priests therefore may preside at the celebration of all the blessings in this book, unless a bishop is present as presider.” Similarly a lay person would not preside if a Priest were present.

Regarding blessings by lay people it has: “Such laypersons exercise this ministry in virtue of their office (for example, parents on behalf of their children) or by reason of some special liturgical ministry …”.

[Excerpts from the English translation of Book of Blessings , © 1987, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.]

Before a new chalice, paten, ciborium or monstrance are used to contain the Blessed Sacrament, they receive a special blessing. After that, they should not be used other than for their proper liturgical purpose. However, there’s nothing to prevent you from buying these from a church supplier and keeping them unblessed in your home as a reminder of the liturgy. You may keep a supply of holy water (lustral, not baptismal) in your home although using an aspergillum might be considered improper.

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So lets just say I did buy a very plain chalice for my home altar to remind me to pray for all Catholic clergy. Would it be a good idea besides, of course, letting my family know it is not blessed and has never been used for Our Lord’s Precious Blood at Mass to also affix a label to it stating this fact as well? That way there would be no doubt that a Holy blessed vessel is just sitting around in my home.

There is only one holy water - it doesn’t come in different varieties, and the question of the aspergillium has already been addressed with citations above - it is acceptable.

The folks I referenced in my earlier comment that took the previously used but no longer acceptable chalices, etc. did in some cases affix small labels to the bottom where they weren’t immediately visible (maybe they had visible ones - I don’t know the state of all of them now) for the purpose of remembering where it came from and when, who had originally donated it if such was the case, and so on. It was especially important to some folks so their heirs wouldn’t be left with items and no context.

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Tbh keeping liturgical vessels in your home seems a little weird to me but still each to their own. As others in this thread have rightly noted, once blessed, a chalice is set apart as sacred and shouldn’t be used for any ordinary purpose. Even an unblessed chalice should still be treated as something other than an ordinary vessel. Stil, chalices tend to float around the darker recesses of sacristies or presbyteries all the time so as long as it’s being put to some appropriate purpose, I don’t see the harm.

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