Mass Kit

One of the first problems a pastor faces is “What do I use for bringing the Sacrament to Shut-Ins?”

Of course, there is always the old “AAL communion kit.” (Does Thrivent still hand them out?) It is given to prospective pastors their first week at seminary.  It really should be a graduation gift.  It sits around for four years gathering dust, and roughly 20% of the men who begin seminary, don’t finish.  But, by the time you graduate, you realize that, unbearable student debt or not, you must find a way to get a different communion kit.  The plastic cups simply won’t do for a reverent celebration of the sacrament.  But there are problems :

1) They are expensive.

2) Communion Kits from your local protestant supply center have individual glass cups, which are only marginally better than the individual plastic ones.

3) Mass Kits from your local Roman Catholic supply store often have only a host box – no chalice.

4) The full-blown Mass Kit with a chalice and paten/ciborium are REALLY expensive.

Many pastors create their own.  Pastor Cain, the Dean of the Cathedral for the Wyoming District, did just such a thing, using a gun case – you need to build it sturdy in Wyoming.

Pastor Peterson, of Redeemer Fort Wayne fame, suggests using a camera bag (Which I did for a time.)

When I graduated, I was fortuante to have two things happen to me :

1) I was given the worlds smallest Mas Kit – chalice, paten, and candlesticks in pocket size format.  It was given by the widow of a pastor to the Dean of Students at Fort Wayne to be given to a young pastor, and he gave it to me. I used this for hospital calls and nursing home visits for several years.  (It really is worn out, and so I do not use it regularly any more.  Honorably retired would be the word, though it is still in my dresser at home.)

2) My congregation had a very large Mass Kit c. 1960.  It was very nice.  Dated, but nice.

When I was elected as Pastor of Trinity, I no longer had access to the nice big kit, so I began my search.  After much looking, I knew what I wanted, so I began assembling my own Mass Kit.  With the hardware was purchased, all I had to do was make the case.  I designed the case, but my  Father did the building.  (Thanks Dad!)

I even desigend it to have a slot for the “Little Agenda”.  Then they came out with the Pastoral Care Companion.  It doesn’t fit.  I wish it did.  I can squeeze it in the front section by the crucifix, but I wish it fit in the little slot I designed.  I do put a printed copy of the Order of service in that.  (TLH with the Thees and Thous – my elderly members aren’t used to the “gently updated” langauge.)

So what do I have? A first class, top of the line Mass Kit.  No longer do I use the camera bag.  This is dignified and churchly.  A little bit large for use in hospitals, but it does fit on the sliding tables.   The thing I love about it is : When you pull this out, there’s no mistaking that it’s time for church.  It has it’s own altar surface and crucifix.

Without further ado, my Mass Kit :

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3 Responses to “Mass Kit”

  1. Pastor,
    I’m very interested in having a kit like this since I am approaching completion of my seminary studies. Could I get a copy of your plans? Thanks.

    Sam

    • forestboar Says:

      There are no plans per se. I bought the pieces I wanted, and built a box around them.
      The pieces I used are available here : Ciborium, & Chalice,.
      I’m not sure where I got the cruets and crucifix – you can find them if you search the web enough.
      If I had it to do again, I would go with the stainless steel. (Not sure if it’s still available.) It costs more, but the brass ones I have – they aren’t 24K gold – need constant polishing.
      You can see in the pictures how I arranged them. (The cruets go on the left, one behind another. Unfortunately, I broke one of my cruets, so I use the extra space for linens.) I allowed 1/4 inch on each side for padding, plus 1/4 inch for the Masonite between the compartments. I figured 3/8 inch for the oak exterior.
      My father ordered all the hardware. Not sure from where. (Beware the screws on the latches and hinges – they will scratch tables, your car’s trim, etc.)
      If I had it to do again, I would probably make it so that after the cruets, there is a one inch (total) gap for linens, Pastoral Care companion, etc. I figured 3/4, but by the time the padding was in, it was too narrow. Not sure how the layout would work with the wood, but Hopefully you can figure it out.
      The fabric was just glued in with batting for quilts behind it to give it a very thin layer of padding. I believe Styrofoam blocks were covered and used to make the holes for the chalice/paten/cruets shallower.
      One more note – you need a planer to make the boards flat. If you don’t have one you can either – Get one, or find a friend with one. The stock you buy in the stores is all badly warped.
      Good luck.

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