Q: Could you give me some information on the need for and use of patens. I am a Eucharistic minister. We have recently been informed that as of next Sunday patens will be used at all the masses. Would really appreciate your thoughts. God bless.
A: I treated this in my book Let Us Pray. GIRM 80 calls for a paten on the credence table, if needed. But Redemptionis Sacramentum (93) indicates that the paten (communion-plate) “should be used.”
Its purpose is to avoid the danger of the host or a fragment falling. However, this can be adequately addressed by having communion ministers use broad ciboria, rather than narrow ones. Also, those who receive communion in the hand generally lessen the danger of a host falling. But if your church is planning to use patens, they are in keeping with GIRM 80 and RS 93.