The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Altar, Sacred Vessels, and Vestments
from “Mass and the Sacraments”
by Fr. John Laux, M.A.
Benziger Brothers 1934
Nihil Obstat J.M. Lelen, Censor Librorum
Imprimatur + Francis W. Howard, Bishop of Covington, KY, USA, March 25, 1932 Menu
1.1. Altar and Sanctuary
1.2. Sacred Vessels
1.3. Priest’s Vestments
Altar and Sanctuary
Observe well the picture of the altar and sanctuary. It is here that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered up. This picture shows everything that is necessary for Mass, and gives the proper name of the furniture of the sanctuary. 1.
Canopy or Throne of the Altar
Tabernacle covered by veil (wherever used the veil is of the color of the day or white) 4...9.
Large Candlesticks (lighted only for High Mass and Benediction) 10...11.
Small Candlesticks (lighted only for Low Mass)
Altar Cards (the larger is in the center, containing prayers which the priest reads at the Offertory and Canon. The smaller one on the Epistle side has the prayers read by the priest when washing his hands after the Offertory. The other smaller one on the Gospel side has the Gospel of St. John, which is most frequently read at the end of Mass) 15.
First Gradine or Candlebench for the smaller Candlestick
Second Gradine or Candlebench for the larger Candlestick
Mensa or Altar Table
Altar Table Coverings (one wax and three linen cloths cover the altar table. The fourth or top one of linen frequently edged with lace hangs down over the side of the altar to the floor) 19.
Antependium or Frontal (wherever customary a cloth of the color of the day hangs down in front of the altar) 20.
Gospel Side of the Altar
Epistle Side of the Altar
First Altar Step
Second Altar Step
Predella or Altar Platform (sometimes called the Footpace)
Water and Wine Cruets
Sedilia or Priests’ Bench
The Chalice and its Appurtenances
This is a cup made of gold or silver, or if of silver, the interior must be of gold. It holds the wine for the Holy Sacrifice, and is a striking figure of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (b)
This is a linen cloth used for wiping the chalice, and the fingers and mouth of the celebrant after Communion. It is spread over the cup of the chalice at the beginning and end of Mass. (c)
This is a plate of gold or silver upon which the large bread for consecration rests until the Offertory. Of old it was necessarily larger than now, for it held all the breads to be consecrated. (d)
This is a square pocket-shaped piece of linen with a cardboard inserted in order to stiffen it. It is placed over the chalice to prevent dust or other matter falling into it. (e)
This is the cloth which covers the chalice until the Offertory, and again after the Communion. It also is made of the same material and color as the vestments. (f)
The Burse is a square container for the corporal when the latter is not in use. It is made of the same material and color as the vestments. The Corporal is a square piece of linen. In size and appearance it resembles a small napkin. It is spread out on the altar, and the chalice is placed upon it. During the Mass the Sacred Host rests for a time on the Corporal.
By God’s command the Jewish priests wore a distinctive garb when they ministered in the Temple. The Bible tells us they were vested in violet and purple, scarlet twice dyed, and fine linen. Gold and precious stones were also used to give the person of the priest that dignity demanded by his exalted office. No special dress was at first prescribed for the Christian priesthood. During the early days the garments worn at the Holy Sacrifice were not...
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