Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: cleanup after mass

cleanup after mass QUESTION from Sarah July 9, 2001
Are there any special procedures for cleaning the itmes used to celebrate mass, such as the chalice and the corporal? Someone once told me every church was supposed to have a special sink for disposal. Is this true?
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on July 15, 2001
Dear Sarah,
Yes, every church/chapel needs to have a sacrarium, a special sink which drains directly into the ground an dis not connected to the sewer system. It is required for water that has washed an area in which the Precious Blood has been spilled, and may(should) be used for water used to clean the corporal and purificators.
The General Instruction has three paragraphs that deal with cleansings. Because both the old and new intructions are almost exact, I will quote the new.

278 Whenever a fragment of the Eucharistic bread adheres to his fingers, especially after the breaking of the bread or the communion of the faithful, the priest wipes his fingers over the paten or, if necessary, washes them. He also gathers any particles that may have fallen outside the paten. 279 The vessels are cleansed by the priest or by the deacon or acolyte after communion or after Mass, if possible at a side table. Water alone or wine and water together are used for the cleansing of the chalice, then drunk by the one who cleanses it. The paten is usually wiped with the purificator.
Attention must be paid that whatever of the Blood of Christ may happen to remain after its distribution in Holy Communion should be completely consumed immediately at the altar.
280 If the Eucharistic bread or any particle of it should fall, it is to be picked up reverently. If any of the precious blood spills, the area where the spill occurred should be washed and the water poured into the sacrarium.
The old instruction does not include the second paragraph of n.279, so it is a new law that the remaining Precious Blood MUST be consumed at the altar (presumed by the priest) BEFORE Mass ends.
A ciborium that has many small fragments of the Body of the Lord may also be cleansed with water, with the water then consumed reverently by the one who cleanses.
Mr. Slavek
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