Deacon and chalice

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Thank you very much for your blog and all the information and wisdom you provide.  To that end, a question:

GIRM 180 instructs, at the doxology, the Deacon “…stands next to the Priest, and holds the chalice elevated…” while making no mention of how the Deacon got the chalice in the first place.  On the USCCB web site, in a section titled “The Deacon at Mass” ( there is language different from the GIRM which makes reference to the Deacon receiving the chalice from the celebrant:

“At the final doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer, the deacon stands next to the priest, and after the priest (or Bishop) hands him the chalice, he elevates the chalice as the priest raises the paten with the Eucharistic bread, until the people have responded with the acclamation Amen (no. 180).”

After doing a little more research, it appears this addition may be based in #44 from the “Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion:”

“44. The chalice may never be left on the altar or another place to be picked up by the communicant for self-communication (except in the case of concelebrating bishops or Priests), nor may the chalice be passed from one communicant to another. There shall always be a minister of the chalice.”

So based on this, am I correct that the Deacon should never pick up the chalice himself at the doxology, but wait for it to be handed to him by the celebrant?  This is how I was taught, but want to be as correct as I can be.


A: My interpretation is that the deacon may pick up the chalice directly from the altar. Some presiders prefer to hand it to him, but I do not see any rubric calling for that. To me, handing the vessel to him seems an unnecessary gesture, so I’ve invited our deacons to pick the chalice up themselves.

NDHC 38 allows the deacon to give communion to the extraordinary ministers. Surely the priest is not handing each vessel to the deacon to hand to the minister. It is within the competency of the deacon to take up a chalice from the altar.