Guardian Angels News

From Deacon Will: The Chalice Pall

Posted by Will Pitts on

A parishioner recently posed a question: "What is that square cover that sits on the chalice during Mass, and why is it there?" Let's delve into it.


A chalice pall is a square of linen stiffened with cardboard or plastic, used to cover the chalice during the Mass. Typically white and adorned with a cross or religious symbol, it's commonly referred to as a pall. It's worth noting that confusion may arise as there's also a funeral pall used during funeral services.


The term "Pall" originates from the Latin word "pallium," meaning cloak or covering. In the context of religious practice, it signifies a sacred covering, whether for a chalice or a casket.


The tradition of using a pall stems from the practical necessity of safeguarding the Eucharistic elements in the chalice from contamination, especially in regions where flies and dust were prevalent. While modern advancements have reduced such concerns, many priests still prefer its use.

Liturgical Practice:

During Mass, the pall covers the chalice at the credence table until the preparation of the chalice at the presentation of gifts. It remains on the chalice until the epiclesis, where it's removed by the deacon or priest. The pall is then replaced until the doxology and the great Amen, and again from the Our Father until the Fraction Rite.


While not mandated in the rubrics, some attach symbolic significance to the chalice pall. Analogies include likening it to the stone being rolled away from the tomb or to the veil in the Holy of Holies, symbolizing the spiritual connection between Heaven and Earth.


What began as a practical necessity has evolved into a meaningful practice enriching the Catholic liturgy.


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