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Setting the Table for Holy Communion

Updated March 23, 2017

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.

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

  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. 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. 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.

  5. Warning

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

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Things You'll Need

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

About the Author

Alyson Paige has a master's degree in canon law and began writing professionally in 1998. Her articles specialize in culture, business and home and garden, among many other topics.

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