Q: My parochial vicar and I have been talking about where it is appropriate to do the purification of vessels. I thought I read that new Missal said at the side table or at least at the side of the Altar. But I can’t find any reference to that. My vicar said he was taught it MAY be done at the side table. Can you enlighten us?
A: Here’s paragraph 765 from my book, Let Us Pray. I’m citing the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, the Order of Mass, and the USCCB’s Introduction to the Order of Mass:
765. The vessels used for Communion are to be purified. The priest, a deacon, or an instituted acolyte may clean them (OM 137; GIRM 163, 171e, 183, 192, 279, 284b). The purification takes place either at the altar or at the credence table. The credence table is preferred (279). If the deacon purifies the vessels at the credence table, the priest goes to his chair (283). If the purification is done at the altar, the IOM suggests “at the side of the altar rather than at the center” (138).