The Corporals, Purificators, and Lavabo towels used during Holy Mass will need to be cleaned every 2 weeks. The soiled linens will be placed in a plastic bag and left in the Sacristy. They should be picked up on Monday and returned on Thursday. Altar Scarves and Altar Server Albs will need cleaning much less frequently, maybe 4 times a year, but will be left to an as needed basis.
The corporal is a large square linen usually 18′′ x 18′′, and is folded in 3’s and placed underneath the chalice. The corporal is used to catch any crumbs from the host during consecration. Corporals are embroidered with one center front cross. The corporal is so named because the word comes from the Latin “corpus,” meaning body.
Corporals should be soaked in water, in a plastic tub or bucket, and the water is poured out into the ground. This is done twice. Then they may be spot cleaned and laundered normally in a washing machine. They should be washed separately from other laundry. They are ironed and folded. Place the Corporal right side up, fold up the bottom third, fold down the top third, bring the Right third in, bring the Left third in. Press the folds, NO STARCH. This is done so that the priest opens as a book when celebrating Mass.
The size of purificators are generally 12′′ x 12′′ with an embroidered center cross. Purificators are folded in thirds and placed over the chalice and under the paten. Purificators are used to clean out the chalice and paten after communion.
Purificators are cleaned the same as Corporals. They should be soaked in water, in a plastic tub or bucket, and the water is poured out into the ground. This is done twice. Then they may be spot cleaned and laundered normally in a washing machine. They should be washed separately from other laundry. They are ironed and folded in thirds, bottom up (good side down), then half, crosses up. Press the folds, NO STARCH.
The lavabo towel is used by the priest to dry his hands before the consecration of the host at the communion service. The lavabo towel is held by the acolyte during the service. The term “lavabo towel” comes from the Latin root, “lava,” meaning to wash.
Lavabo towels are washed and dried normally in a washing machine and folded. Ours are terry cloth towels. No special handling is necessary.
Altar Scarf linens cover the main altar and are embroidered with five crosses, one in each corner of the mensa and a centered embroidery. The five crosses on the linen are meant to depict the five wounds of Christ. The linens often include a lace trim on the drop. The linen represents the shroud in which Jesus was wrapped for burial.
Altar Scarf linens (including the Tabernacle linen) are washed and dried normally in a washing machine. Some ironing may be needed. No special handling is necessary.
Altar Server Alb
The Albs should be washed and dried normally in a washing machine according to washing instructions. Some ironing may be needed, as well as spot cleaning. They should be cleaned before Easter and before Christmas; more often may be necessary.