Faith & Life


It’s Time for an Explanation of the Objects Used in the Mass

By Cathi Douglas     10/22/2019

As a Marywood High junior I served as chair of our school Liturgy Committee, helping to plan Masses and assisting in communion service during the Eucharist.

The experience offered me a firsthand education about the items used in the Mass. But that was a long time ago, so I wanted to refresh my memory about the sacred objects that are used in each Mass.

Roman Missal, Book of the Gospels, Lectionary

The Roman Missal includes the opening prayer, prayer over the gifts, prayers after communion, Eucharistic prayers and preface. The Book of the Gospels is used for each reading. The Lectionary contains the Scripture readings.

Sanctus bell 

These bells are rung at the two elevations of Eucharist and Precious Blood.  It is usually the custom in Mass to now ring the Sanctus or consecration bells at the Epiclesis (when the priest places his hands over the bread and wine, consecrating them through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the two elevations of the Eucharist and the Precious Blood.

Censor and Boat 

Also known as the Thurible, the censor is used on solemn occasions to incense the altar, the bread and wine after the offertory, the priest, altar and congregation. The Boat holds the incense until it is place in the censor.

Processional crucifix 

A portable crucifix carried in front of liturgical celebrations and at the exit of Mass.


The main focus of the Church, where the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s Body and Blood are consecrated. It is topped by a slab of marble or wood and signifies Christ, the Living Stone.


A raised platform for the proclamation of the Scriptures.


A flat, 10-inch square cloth case for carrying the corporal.


A stiff white linen cloth on which are placed the vessels containing the bread and wine.


A white cloth used to cleanse the chalice.


The white cover placed over the paten when it is on the chalice, preventing foreign matter from falling in.


Presented to the priest by acolytes, who pour water over his hands as he recites from Psalm 26: “Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sins.”


A shallow dish that holds the bread which becomes the Body of Christ; it must be gold or gold-plated.


The large cup used to hold the wine which becomes the Blood of Christ; it must be of gold or silver.


A bowl used to hold the hosts used for communion and also to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle.

Communion cups 

Smaller than the large chalice on the altar, they are used to hold the wine that is consecrated.

Consecration bells 

Rung three times each for the bread and the wine at the moment of consecration.

Holy oils 

Consecrated by the Bishop during Holy Week at the Chrism Mass, the three oils are: The Oil of the Sick, Oil of the Catechumens, and Oil of Chrism.

Easter or Paschal candle 

A large wax column that is blessed on the Easter Vigil and lit during all Easter season liturgies. It is lit for funeral liturgies and used to light Baptismal and Confirmation candles. It is affixed with a cross, the year, and the Alpha and Omega.

Aspersory – Aspergillum 

A container for holy water, it comes with an implement that is dipped into the Aspersory to capture holy water and used to sprinkle the congregation or objects being blessed.


A sacred vessel designed to expose the consecrated host to the congregation either for adoration in the church or carrying during a procession.


Small glass capped bottles brought to the altar as gifts, they contain unconsecrated water and wine.