Liturgical Vessels04 May 2015, by Sacraments in
Liturgical vessels are those consecrated items or utensils used during liturgical ceremonies, especially at Mass. The use of these vessels are dated back into “biblical times,” both Old and the New Testament. The bible may not have used the word liturgical vessels, but it used the word sanctuary vessels or utensils and mentioned other vessels used during temple worship. (1Kg. 7:45, 1Kg. 8:4, 2Kg. 25:14, 2Chro. 36:18, Jere. 28:13). There are other passages of the scripture that talks about these vessels, for instance, the book of Numbers 3:31 talks about some of the sacred vessels. And their charge was to be the ark, the table, the Lampstand, the altars, the vessels of the sanctuary with which the priests minister, and the screen; all the service pertaining to these. In the New Testament, the bible talks about the cup, and this cup was used for liturgical celebration, so, it can be called a liturgical vessel. Also, the bible talks about the breaking of bread. Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (Mt. 26:26-28. This breaking of bread was done during a liturgical celebration instituted by Christ Jesus himself; the bread was not placed on a bare table but a plate, liturgical vessel.
In the Catholic Church, these vessels are still used for the same purpose. They are blessed and consecrated before been used for a liturgical celebration like the ancient vessels. The most commonly used vessels are Chalice, Paten, Ciborium, Cruets, Thurible/incense boat, Monstrance, Tabernacle, Crucifix, Aspersory /Aspergillum, and pyx.
The Chalice, or the cup referred to in the bible, occupies a special place among the sacred vessels; it is the one the priest uses on the altar to hold the blood of Jesus. This cup is special because, from the time of Jesus, it was associated with his blood; whenever the cup is mentioned, it is connected immediately to our communion with the blood of Jesus Christ. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? 1Cor.10:16.
The Paten is flat, round-shaped, and gold or silver in colour. It is used on the altar to hold the
large host for consecration. The communion Paten with handle is used to protect particles from the hosts from dropping on the floor during the distribution of the Holy Communion; it is held under the chin of one who receives the communion.
This is a chalice-like shape with a lid; it is used to hold the consecrated hosts. The Ciborium may take a different shape, but the purpose remains the same. It holds the consecrated bread, the body of Jesus. The priest uses it during the consecration, distribution of the body, and preservation of the body.
These are two small bottles, cups, or specially designed small jugs that hold some water and wine before consecration. They are placed on a small flat plate.
THE THURIBLE AND INCENSE BOAT:
The Thurible is the incense burner used during Mass, Eucharistic adoration, and some other liturgical celebration like burial while the incense boat is a small container that holds the incense before it is placed in the thurible.
This is a gold or silver vessel used not during the Mass but for Eucharistic adoration and benediction. It may come in different sizes and shapes, but it is generally round or cross-like with a round glass at the middle called ‘luna’ to enable the consecrated host to be seen and adored. The Host is kept in place inside the monstrance with the help of a little crescent-shaped clip called ‘Lunette.’
The name tabernacle means a “dwelling place.” As the name suggests, the tabernacle is a liturgical furnishing where the consecrated bread (the body of Christ) is kept after mass. This may be directly behind the altar or by the side of the altar.
This is the sacramental representation or a symbol of the crucified Jesus on the cross. A smaller cross is often placed on the altar facing the priest, while a bigger one is hung behind the altar facing the congregation. It reminds us that the Mass is a celebration of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross that brought life everlasting in God.
ASPERSORY AND ASPERGILLUM:
The Aspersory is a container for holding holy water, while the Aspergillum is a stick-like sprinkler with holes; it is dipped into the Aspersory to get some of the water to sprinkle. In many parishes today, there are different kinds of sprinklers, most likely for pastoral reasons.
This is a small container use to carry the body of Christ to the sick.