Purification of Vessels for an alcoholic


Hi all… I have been lurking in these forums for quite some time, but this is my first post. I am discerning the call to be a permanent deacon, and am in my third year of formation. I was installed as an acolyte a few weeks back. In my past, i abused alcohol, so I am a recovering alcoholic with over 10 years of sobriety. My deacon director is all aware of that.

My question is, how do priests, deacons or instituted acolytes purify the vessels if they are an alcoholic? I asked my deacon director this question, and he said he will find out, but he has yet to get an answer.

This past weekend I was an acolyte at mass, and the priest who was the presider at mass, also knows I am an alcoholic, asked me to purify the vessels. I didn’t really have a chance during mass to remind him of my issue, so I just did my best, poured as much water into the vessels as possible to dilute as much of the precious blood as possible and said a prayer to God to please not allow me to slip in my sobriety (NB… I could taste a little of the precious blood). What do others who suffer with my addiction do? I know I can’t be the only person in the world in this situation, so I am hoping others may help.

Hopefully in a few days/weeks my deacon director will have an answer for me on this, but I was curious as t o how other handle this. If you suffer from alcohol addiction and don’t wish to post that on the forum for all to see, please feel free to private message me.

Thank you and God bless you all for your help.





The best thing to do is remind the priest that he needs to consume. After that, purify with water as usual. Wine may be used for the ablutions in the Ordinary Form, but it’s not required and is almost always done with water, at least in all the places I’ve been.



Thank you Father @edward_george1 … my concern is this. The extra ordinary ministers bring the chalice back to the alter and he hands it back to them to consume. They do so, but there is always some residual that clings to the side of the chalices. What happened this weekend was that I then had to take those chalices, which were empty except for the residual precious blood that clung to the sides. I then used just water to purify and kept pouring that water into each chalice, and then fill it up with the remainder of the water. I take my sobriety very seriously, so I don’t want to that dark place that I was in when I was drinking. Anyhow, I did then consume the water (which filled most of the chalice). I’m sure I did not get much alcohol in that water, but I could still taste the precious blood. Would it be best to do the pruification as one normally does, but then just have the priest or deacon consume the purification water? What if he forgets and does not come back to the credence table? Can I have someone else consume it who is not a priest, deacon, or instituted acolyte (I don’t think can, but maybe you know for sure)?


There’s nothing wrong with what you’ve described. I guess my question is whether your concern has to do with the manner of purifying, or with having to purify at all. The latter would only be a concern if even that minute amount of alcohol in the diluted Precious Blood would be a problem for you.


Thank you Father. The problem is I don’t know if that minute amount would be a problem for me. I have been living a sober life for over 10 years now, and have not had any alcohol (that I am aware of at least) in that time. I want to be humble with myself, and know my limitations, and if that means that I cannot purify, that I will resign myself to that. I will figure it out as time goes by.

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