My parish church uses the proper sacred vessels but after Mass, especially the weekend mass, I see either the Eucharistic ministers or parish staff members grabbing the sacred vessels and carrying them back to the sacristy, crowding theml in one arm, with the vessels upside down or on top of one another, as if they are waiters clearing a table in a restaurant.
I question not the handling of the sacred vessels that just carried the Body and Blood of Jesus , but also but also whether they should be washed washed with soap in the sacristy (for hygienic reasons). I know that the Purification is done right at the end of the Mass by the priest (there is enough information on this) but the actual washing later on with soap is something that is not often discussed.
Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, writes the following:
the priest " purifies the paten or ciborium over the chalice then purifies the chalice… This is usually done by placing the paten over the chalice at an angle so that the tiny fragments fall into it. If necessary, this process may be helped by moving the particles with the corner of a folded purificator or with the thumb, which in turn is rubbed over the chalice to loosen any particles that may have adhered. If necessary, especially in hot and humid climes, the fingers may also be purified with water. "
"The ciborium may be purified by hand in the same manner. But because of the large number of small particles in this vessel, it is often necessary to purify it directly with water. In this case, water is placed in the ciborium, gently swished to absorb all the particles and this water is then poured directly into the chalice. Extra chalices are likewise purified with water. "
“The minister then consumes the water containing the particles and should not pour it into the sacrarium. The minister then dries the ciboria and the chalice or chalices with a purificator.”
"When this process is completed, and only then, may the sacred vessels be washed with other elements such as soap. This is usually unnecessary and should not be done on a daily basis except, perhaps, when many people partake of the same chalice. Excess washing can cause expensive damage to the metal parts of the chalice."
More in: zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=66066
From what Fr. McNamara writes above, it shows that washing by soap is optional. I would like to know more about this 2nd part, the cleaning after the purification. Is it true that the sink in the sacristy where the vessels are washed should have a plumbing system that goes directly to the ground and not through the sewer lines? Is there any kind of prayer or ceremony that the Church prescribes during this time of washing? What kind of soap can be used? Can anybody do this washing of the vessels in sink? ( especially if the deacon is gone or busy with other things after Mass)
Once I attended Mass at a parish where we attended a conference. After Mass, I went to the bathroom. I was shocked at what I witnesed – a Eucharistic minister was washing all the sacred vessels in the bathroom sink!
What is so sad is often the liturgical abuse happens just because people don’t know. There is not enough information on this.
In the love and joy of Jesus,