Monday, 22 September 2008

Liturgical Linens

Liturgical smalls can be one of the most problematic area of sacristy maintenance, I find. The secrets of how to distinguish a purificator from a lavabo towel, or how to fold a corporal just right are, it seems, under the disciplina arcani, passed at a crossroads by midnight from one good person (usually women) to another. This can bring problems, because if a glitch gets into the system, it's very hard to convince somebody that what they've been doing (and their mother and grandmother before them) isn't quite right.
So I was delighted to see a publication, the Handbook for Laundering Liturgical Linen, and have bought several for my parish, and am delighted with the result. It is a very user-friendly introduction to the whole art, and my only regret is that it doesn't go on to deal with the larger linens, such as albs and altar cloths, the laundering of which remain sub sigillo.
Angelus Press is the publisher, and I gather the Society of St Pius X is behind the scheme, but I'm all for ecumenism if it means the amices will be properly cared for.


Anonymous said...

The corporal in the cover illustration is the wrong way round i.e. face down. To fold it one would have to turn it over, which would be the height of liturgical incorrectness.

Pastor in Monte said...

You're right, of course, Father. Fortunately it's about laundering them rather than using them!

gemoftheocean said...

Father, when I first started assisting at Mass (when I was just short of 19) one of the older ladies showed me this particular arcane knowledge and I have been glad over the years to pass it on myself. So what you say about that is absolutely correct. David beat me to the punch in saying the corporal is upside. [See, if more women had grown up serving Mass, they'd know how not to iron them!]

It's usually with the corporal that most novices run into the most difficulty with in ironing. If you explain to them HOW it's used, and why it's used that way, they "get it" and can then figure it out for themselves. It's also useful to point out to them it's the only one that's a perfect square.

[Now if I can just get a certain ...uh, "unaware" deacon to grasp that one does not wave it around when laying it out I'd be thrilled.

I don't think they teach our deacons much of JACK in this diocese about such niceties because I see various ones make this same faux pas all the time. Even a few of the younger priests, who should know better! It's rather annoying that when he puts the chalice/purificator/pall/corporal rigging back together, it's never the right way. I end up putting it to rights on the credence table.