Setting the Table for Holy Communion

Written by alyson paige
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Setting the Table for Holy Communion
Holy Communion celebrates the Body and Blood of Christ. (Holy bread image by Gianluca Ciralli from

Preparing a table for the Eucharistic celebration--known as credence--is more than accurate placement of sacred items on a table. Roman Catholics, Eastern rite churches, the Anglican rite and some Protestant denominations regard the altar and associated objects with deep reverence. Since the Eucharist--better known as Holy Communion--is the Body and Blood of Christ, the Communion table is set according to ancient traditions. Only properly prepared servers can set the credence.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Corporal
  • Chalice Paten
  • Ciborium
  • Purificator
  • Pall
  • Veil

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  1. 1

    Place every object on the credence according to tradition. Prepare the table by following the Prayer of the Faithful.

  2. 2

    Add the dishes for the wine and the Host. Add the chalice--cup for the wine--and the paten, which is a metal plate to hold the Host.

  3. 3

    Place the corporal, which is a square white linen cloth over the altar. Open the corporal by placing it on the altar, folded. Unfold the cloth to cover the altar. Lay the purificator, which is a strip of linen, across the chalice. Add the paten on top of the purificator.

  4. 4

    Cover the paten and the Host with the pall, which is a starched square of linen. Drape the veil over the entire set of Eucharistic objects.

Tips and warnings

  • Never shake open the corporal, warns Father Edward McNamara on (See References 1)

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