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Blessings and Replated Sacred Vessels

Date: October 10, 2021
Author: Fr. Edward McNamara, LC

Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and sacramental theology and director of the Sacerdos Institute at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum university.

Q. I sent my 57-year-old chalice and paten to have the inside of the cup and the top of the paten replated with gold. It was consecrated by a bishop back at that time, something that is not done any more. My question is: Is it necessary to bless the chalice and paten before using them for Mass? -- J.H.,Austin, Texas

A: Although there are no detailed norms regarding this topic, we can be guided by the principles behind Canon 1171 of the Code of Canon Law and norm 19.2 of the Enchiridion of Indulgences.

The code states:

“Can. 1171 Sacred objects, which are designated for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated reverently and are not to be employed for profane or inappropriate use even if they are owned by private persons.”

The norms for indulgences indicate that the indulgence attached to the use of a devotional object ceases only when the object is destroyed or sold.

Given these overall principles, I would say that the regular repair and upkeep of a sacred object does not require a new blessing, and this would be the case of gilding a chalice or paten, which can be considered part of regular maintenance.

Things could be different if a chalice was so badly damaged that several parts had to be replaced so that the repaired chalice would be substantially different from the original. In such a case a new blessing would be warranted.

This is foreseen, for example, in the case of refurbishing a church by installing a new altar. The new altar would need to be consecrated even if it extensively reused the altar table and other parts of a pre-existing altar that had been duly consecrated when first installed.

It would not be required if an old altar was simply moved to a new position within the presbytery, or was temporarily dismantled to allow other repairs, without undergoing major changes especially to the table of sacrifice.

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