Q: I know only priests, deacons, and instituted acolytes may purify the sacred vessels used at Mass. At my church, the parish buys a pyx for each of our extraordinary ministers who take communion to the nursing homes and homebound folks. If they leave this ministry, they are supposed to return that pyx to the parish. It now has become apparent that some of these ministers are purifying their pyxes themselves. Is that allowed? How should this purification take place?
Thanks for your help with this.
A: Pastoral Care of the Sick #74 says that “the vessel is properly purified afterward by a Priest or Deacon;” however, the expression “by a Priest or Deacon” is not in the Latin. I’m not sure how it got there in English.
It’s more practical for the ministers to purify the pyxes themselves by adding water to the vessel and drinking it. Their service to the sick takes place outside of mass, so the rules from the GIRM do not necessarily apply.