Purifying the vessels at Catholic mass

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  I have been researching different rites of the church during the liturgy as described in the GIRM. I am interested in the purification of vessels after the distribution of communion currently. In the GIRM, it mentions that certain duties may be performed by a “duly instituted acolyte” as needed. However, I find very little information in GIRM or online as to what the heck this is. I’m also trying to make sense in my mind as to who is allowed to purify the vessels. At my old parish in a different Diocese, I seem to recall that on occasion they had Extraordinary Ministers purifying the vessels; I could be mistaken, it was years ago. I was under the impression that only an ordained person could handle the vessels once the communion rite was completed. Any info you have is appreciated. I’m not asking for any specific reason; just to satisfy my own liturgical-nerdiness!

A:  An instituted acolyte is a male Catholic over whom a bishop prays to install him in this ministerial office. See Ministeria quædam http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/p6minors.htm. Every candidate for the diaconate and priesthood goes through this step. It is not limited to them, but because it is limited to males, there are few dioceses where instituted acolytes serve.

The rules for purifying vessels in the United States were revised in 2002 http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/norms-for-holy-communion-under-both-kinds/. Extraordinary ministers of holy communion are not supposed to purify vessels at mass. I don’t know of any other country where this is in force, but it does reflect the mind of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.