Offering gestures

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  Frequently I observe priests make “offering” gestures during the preparation of the gifts. I think that is entirely inappropriate, as the offering occurs during the Eucharistic prayer, and making offering gestures—especially with the chalice—suggests offering when it is not a time of offering. I most always say those preparation prayers to myself (in a very low voice), but on Holy Thursday I always said them aloud. When the chalice and plate arrive at the altar at the end of the procession, I or others place them on the mensa, but not on the corporal. What I do during the preparation prayers (which are beautiful prayers) is to silently lift the plate or chalice about 2 inches above the Mensa and place each item on the corporal, with absolutely no gesture which would suggest offering, so that indeed, the transfer from the mensa to the corporal is truly a preparatory act.

Any thoughts on these gestures?


A:  You are correct about the height for holding those vessels. Check the Order of Mass in the middle of your Roman Missal and look for #23 and #25. They both call for the priest to raise the vessels “slightly” above the altar. I think your interpretation is correct. The action is moving downwards onto the corporal for the sacrifice to come, not upwards in offering.