Q: What is the basis of the use of a “priest’s” chalice distinct from “communal chalices” used at Mass. It seems to counter the idea of communion itself. Are there norms that require this practice or that encourage the whole community to share from the same vessels?
A: The rubrics that appear in the missal’s Order of Mass do not account for communion under both kinds. Those permissions and instructions are found elsewhere. So the Order of Mass continually gives instructions about “the chalice” as if there is only one. Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States says this at #36: “If one chalice is not sufficient for Holy Communion to be distributed under both kinds to the Priest concelebrants or Christ’s faithful, several chalices are placed on a corporal on the altar in an appropriate place, filled with wine. It is praiseworthy that the main chalice be larger than the other chalices prepared for distribution.” The larger size probably has more to do with visibility. A separate chalice for the priest is not required. The priest may drink from one of the chalices prepared for the people. In fact, the same citation implies that a single chalice for all is preferable.