Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Reader Looking for a Cerecloth

A reader has written me to say that he has been trying, to no avail, to find a business which could provide a traditional cerecloth for an altar that is likely to be consecrated in the next year. If anyone knows who can provide the appropriate kind of traditional waxed linen cloth, would you be so kind as to leave the relevant contact information in the comments section of this post, or (if it is the contact info of a private individual) either send it to me by email, or ask the person to contact me by email? ( I will make sure the information is passed on to the relevant party.

From the old Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on Altar Cloths:

Besides the three altar-cloths there is another linen cloth, waxed on one side, which is called the chrismale (cere-cloth), and with which the table of the consecrated altar (even if part of it be made of bricks or other material, and does not form a part of the consecrated altar) should be completely covered (Caerem. Episc., De altaris consecratione). It must be of the exact size of the table of the altar, and it is placed under the linen cloths, the waxed side being turned towards the table. Its purpose is not only to prevent the altar-cloths from being stained by the oil used at the consecration, but also to keep the cloths dry. Hence it is advisable to have such a wax cloth on all altars in churches which may be, accessible to dampness.

According to the rubrics, this cloth is removed once a year, that is, during the stripping of the altars on Maundy Thursday; but it may be changed as often as the altar is washed. The cere-cloth is not blessed. It cannot take the place of one of the three rubrical linen cloths.

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