Back in the late 80s and early 90s I studied at a traditionalist Catholic seminary and as our rector was a bishop, pontifical ceremonies formed a regular part of our liturgical life. As one of several sacristans, I was able to get quite up close and personal with the preparations of these interesting ceremonies: coordinating with the MCs; selecting and laying-out all the vestments in the several different sacristies that were required; assisting the clergy with their vesting…and sometimes preparing the bishop’s “breakfast”.
Whenever an event called for the bishop’s use of holy oils–Confirmations, ordinations, the Chrism Mass, what have you–a salver with lemons and bread was placed on Credence I (think it was I…maybe III). The bread and lemons were presented to the bishop after any instance wherein he finished using holy oils; he would use them to clean his fingers of the oils. We sacristans referred to the bread and lemons as “Hizzexcellency’s Breakfast”.
We called it that because this bishop would actually consume the edibles afterwards: he gave instructions to leave all of the used bread and lemons in the sacristy and not to toss them into nature. We would obey, and he would take them back to his room after every such ceremony…and eat it all up, holy oil and all.
I always found that practice intriguing, and I wonder if the practice of cleaning holy oils from the fingers with bread and lemons is observed by bishops, today. Is that strictly a pre-Vatican II era practice or is it still done today? Are there any cathedral sacristans or MCs out there who are familiar with this custom?