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Thursday 29 July |
Saint of the Day: Sts Martha, Mary and Lazarus of Bethany

Daily Quiz Answers: What is the name of this carried staff?

Answer #1: C – a Processional Monstrance.

The monstrance is the container that carries the Eucharist To the altar during services. Monstrances are usually elaborate in design; most are carried by the priest. Others may be much larger, fixed constructions, typically for displaying the host in a special side chapel, often called the “Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament”. For portable designs, the preferred form is a sunburst on a stand, usually topped by a cross.

Medieval monstrances were more varied in form than contemporary ones. Those used for relics, and occasionally for the host, typically had a crystal cylinder in a golden stand, and those usually used for hosts had a crystal window in a flat-faced golden construction, which could stand on its base. The monstrance was most often made of silver-gilt or other precious metal, and highly decorated. In the center of the sunburst, the monstrance normally has a small round glass the size of a Host, through which the Blessed Sacrament can be seen. Behind this glass is a round container made of glass and gilded metal, called a luna, which holds the Host securely in place. When not in the monstrance, the Host in its luna is placed in a special standing container, called a standing pyx, in the Tabernacle. Before the current design, earlier “little shrines” or reliquaries of various shapes and sizes were used.

Answer #2: B – a Humeral Veil

When the monstrance contains the Host, the priest will not touch the vessel with his bare hands. He holds it with a humeral veil, a wide band of cloth that covers his shoulders (humera) and has pleats on the inside, in which he places his hands.

There are several ways to fold the humeral veil; it can be folded so that each side is folded individually like an accordion (with the folds either on top of the center or underneath the center of the humeral veil), or it can be folded by folding both sides simultaneously in an accordion style (after offsetting one side).

The humeral veil should not be confused with the vimpa, which is of a similar but narrower design. The vimpa is sometimes used when a bishop celebrates Mass. In the Roman Rite, if the bishop uses a mitre and crosier, the altar servers assigned to the task of holding those items cover their hands with the vimpa when holding them, symbolizing that the items do not belong to them. The vimpa may be in the color of the day or alternatively of a simple material in white or green.