Have you noticed the use of the chalice veil and the burse during our Masses? The chalice veil is that piece of cloth draped over the chalice which matches the priest’s vestments. Is the chalice veil required? No. But the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, the document which gives a bunch of instructions in the front of the Missal (the Missal is the big reddish book you see me using for all of the prayers during Mass) commends the use of the chalice veil: “It is commendable to place a veil over the chalice which is of the color of the day or white.” Why use a chalice veil? To add solemnity to the whole ceremony, but more specifically to highlight the dignity of the priest’s chalice and the small priest’s paten, both of which the veil covers. Soon after the uncovering of the veil, at the Eucharistic prayer, the chalice will hold the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, and the paten will hold a host which is the Precious Body of Jesus Christ. The chalice veil helps us realize the dignity of these privileged vessels. The chalice veil helps us visually experience what the words of the Eucharistic prayer say: “… he took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands…” Why is the chalice “precious”? Not because it is made of fine metal; rather, because it contains the Blood of Jesus.
What is the “burse” (sounds like “purse”)? This is a stiff pouch covered with the same material as the chalice veil, which is used to hold the “corporal”, that piece of cloth which is carefully unfolded and placed under the chalice and paten during the Eucharistic Prayer. The coporal is laid out to catch any particles that might fall from the host during the fraction right or other gestures with the Eucharist on the altar. After the Eucharistic Prayer and distribution of Communion, the corporal is carefully refolded and placed into the burse in order to be certain that no particles are carelessly dropped around the altar.
Along the same lines, we are using a liturgical tray to carry vessels from the credence table to the altar and back again. Because of the dignity of these vessels used for the Body and Blood of Jesus during the Mass, the tray helps us avoid unnecessary, casual handling of these vessels. Practically speaking, it also reduces the trips back and forth between the altar and credence table.
On a practical note, last week’s bulletin stated that you would see a summary of major themes from the parish survey in this week’s bulletin. Mary Ivan’s summary is on the other side of this letter. Slowly, in one way or another, I will try to respond to the various themes as prudence dictates. This past week we had our first finance council meeting under my direction. Once again, I was very happy with participation of all the members. I can see they will be very helpful to me when it comes to managing the “temporal goods” of the parish. In next week’s bulletin I will have a summary of our discussion.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae, (i.e., “in the hearts of Jesus and Mary”)