Why the corporal?

The word corporal comes from the Latin word corpus, meaning body. It is the cloth on which the paten and chalice are placed during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the consecration of the most holy Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord. The purpose of the corporal is to catch any fragments of the consecrated host that may fall away from the sacred host. Folding it improperly, flipping it over or shaking it out cause the fragments to be thrown to the floor. The corporal is a square linen cloth. It is usually about 18 to 19″ square. The corporal should not be left on the altar, since that would defeat its purpose.

Why is it that many priests/ deacons no longer know how to open and refold a corporal? I have seen priests and deacons, pick up, shake out and flip over the corporal, showing they do not know why we use one. Here is a quote from “The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described” by Dom @Alcuin Reid (Pg. 66 & 85). Even if a priest does not celebrate the Extraordinary Form, he can learn a lot from our tradition.

“Then he  spreads the corporal, placing the unfolded corporal in the middle of the altar and opening out its sides, and then the top and the bottom, ensuring that the creates face upward (so that any fragments are contained within it when it is folded again); the front edge should be about an inch from the front of the altar.”

And on refolding it:

“He folds the corporal beginning with the fold nearest himself and puts it back into the burse.”


Santa Maria Maggiore – Santa Maria Salus Populi romani

I had the privilege of celebrating Mass at the altar below the image of Santa Maria Salus Populi Romani October 1, 2014

I had the privilege of celebrating Mass at the altar below the image of Santa Maria Salus Populi Romani October 1, 2014

Today, we celebrate the feast day of Santa Maria Maggiore. It is one of the four major Papal basilicas, and the largest church dedicated to Our Lady in Rome. The original basilica was built around the year 350 A.D. At the time, is was called Santa Maria ad Nives, (Our Lady of the Snows), recalling the legend of snow falling on the Esquiline Hill on a host August summer day, marking the spot where the church dedicated to Our Lady was to be built. It is also know as Salus Populi Romani, (Our Lady Protectress of the Roman People) because of the beautiful miraculous image of Our Lady with the infant Jesus. the painting of the image is attributed to St. Luke. St. Helena brought it from the Holy Land to Rome. There have been many times through out the ages that Our Lady has come to the aid of the Roman people through their devotion to this image. In 597, Pope St. Gregory the Great carried the image through the streets of Rome when the plague had decimated Europe and Italy. Also, during the Second World War, the people of Rome stormed the basilica, day and night for days on end seeking her protection nearby villages and towns were bombed. the basilica was also called  Santa Maria ad Prasepe (St. Mary of the Crib) by Pope Sixtus III. The basilica holds relics of Our Lord’s crib under the main altar. This basilica has always had a special place in the lives of the Popes and faithful Christians. Many Popes have visited seeking special graces and protection. The basilica is a major stop for all pilgrims and tourists to the Holy City. It’s beauty and magnificence tell of the Church’s love for the Mother of our Savior. Let us pray for the people of Rome, the Church of Rome and all of us who are Roman Catholic, for she is our true mother.

A closeup of the beautiful face of Santa Maria Salus Populi Romani

A closeup of the beautiful face of Santa Maria Salus Populi Romani

Hacksaw Ridge

Mel Gibson’s latest movie Hacksaw Ridge will be released on November 4th. I think this movie is going to be one of those at the top of the charts. It’s one of those movies that causes you to look into yourself and ask the hard questions. “Do I have the courage to do what this guy did?” and “Do I have the courage to do what I believe?”

Some people have the special touch when it comes to making movies, and Mel Gibson is one of those who do. This is going to be a big hit. It goes to the heart.

Check out the trailer below.