Thurible question

I am the thurifer at a TLM, and I am curious about when the thurible should be left open.

Last time I served, the MC had me leave the thurible open after adding more charcoal during the homily through to the offertory when Father incensed the Altar. I was interested to see that in the Eastern Churches and the traditional Ambrosian Rite the thurible is always open, even when it is being used.

I also am curious about the use of incense in the processions. We used incense during one procession, but Father told us not to do so at the next Mass. I will always carry the thurible in the procession though.

I assume your thurible has been designed where by leaving a few holes on the cover, you can swing it to decrease the time it would take for the charcoals to become hot enough for the incense to take? I haven’t been at Eastern Churches but do they blow across the top of the charcoal to make it hotter?

My guess is that the thurible was meant to be open for maximum effect but if it is to be moved at all (such as in a procession) then it would have to be covered to prevent spillage.

I suspect that the addition of charcoal to the thurible was the reason it was kept open - so that the charcoal would catch. Other than that, the normal position of the thurible was closed. I would be worried about an open thurible during censing. Sparks or flaming incense could easily fly out.

I thought that the cover would have to be in place when the thurible was in use too, but then I found out that in the Eastern and Ambrosian Rites the thurible is open, even when it is in use :confused:

I am also wondering if the thurible should be open during the entrance procession.

I’m not certain any of this has a specific rubric. A lot of it, it would seem to me, would be predicated upon keeping the charcoal lit. Liturgical charcoal burns fast and hot and I can remember being sent back to the sacristy for more charcoal. I can’t explain the Eastern and Ambrosian rites except to say they’d have to be awfully careful!

Hi,
I’m a thurfer at a TLMass as well, I forget the total details but as far as I remember the lid is allways slightly open before it is used i.e incense added. So at the prayers at the foot of the altar, which the M.C is saying the responses to, the thurfer is at the credence waiting for the priest assend, with the thurible slightly uncovered: altar censed return to sacristy. Return to altar until Epistle, fetch thurible. Priest adds incense for Gospel, now lid is left slighty raised, when priest is chanting ‘Sequintia Sancti’ etc you shut the lid and hand to M.C. Return to sacristy, then return to altar etc. Can’t remember everything totaly I’ll have a look at the ‘Ceremonies of the Roman Rite described’ during the week.
God Bless

I’m not certain any of this has a specific rubric. A lot of it, it would seem to me, would be predicated upon keeping the charcoal lit. Liturgical charcoal burns fast and hot and I can remember being sent back to the sacristy for more charcoal. I can’t explain the Eastern and Ambrosian rites except to say they’d have to be awfully careful!

I can recall seeing a photograph in Macleans Magazine a couple months back of Pope Benedict arriving at the Patriarchate in Istanbul. Before the Holy Father and the Patriarch are two Deacons (or so I assume, based on their vestments which resemble Dalmatics) walking backwards, each swinging an open thurible (small Byzantine-style thuribles, which have bells hung on their three short chains, and are held in one hand).

I also remember reading a description of Mass in the traditional Ambrosian Rite (I cant speak for the revised Ambrosian Rite though), where it noted that the thurible is always open, like in the Eastern tradition.

We have a stand for the thurible beside the credence table, so it is hung there after the procession, then when the priest ascends to the Altar I fetch the thurible and boat and go up beside the MC for Father to impose the incense, and the lid is open for this. Afterwards it is returned to the stand.

Right now though, I just wish to know exactly when in the Mass the thurible should be left open, and if incense should be imposed before the opening procession.

Incense should not be added before procession, in fact the thurible should not be swinging until incense is added and blessed. It should be held in the left hand and be stedy when processing.

The thurible we use had the chains shortened so that it always stays open, at least one inch. This allows for more air to reach the burning coals and keep them hot, as I posted before about this there is nothing more embarrasing than incensing something with no smoke coming out of the thurible.

In the past, before we had the chains shortened the cover would always be lifted when the thurible was placed back in the stand, yet the priest had to open it up a little when incensing to allow more air to hit the coals and more smoke to come out.

I hear there is no problem with those large costly thuribles that you can fit about five charcoal briquettes in at once, but you still keep the cover lifted when not in use so that the coals don’t go out.

Ken

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