Guidelines for Captains

Guidelines for “Captains”

The captain arrives 15 to 20 minutes prior to mass; they are responsible for filling the ciboria and flagon, finding replacements for ministers who are absent, cleaning the vessels, and putting the sacristy in good order after mass. 


Retrieve the key for the tabernacle from the safe, open the tabernacle, genuflect, and then determine how many consecrated hosts left from the last mass are in the ciboria.

When there is a ciborium with a small amount of hosts in it, leave the ciborium in the tabernacle; those hosts can be combined with any that remain after the distribution of Communion. 

In the sacristy fill the flagon with wine from the bottle in in the small refrigerator.  The chart on the outside of the refrigerator door shows how much wine will be needed for each mass.  If there is not enough wine in the refrigerator, open another bottle from the case of wine on the floor of the room where the vestments are located.  The cleaned flagon is normally kept on a rack in the powder room.


Remember to consider the number of ciboria that are in the tabernacle when preparing for communion. 

Mass Chalices/Ciboria
4:00 and 9:00 Mass 4 Chalices and 5 Ciboria
7:30 Mass 2 Chalices and 4 Ciboria
11:00 Mass 5 Chalices and 6 Ciboria

When a ciborium is filled to the halfway line, it will hold about 120 hosts; shaking the ciborium will give the most accurate count.   In order to determine the number of hosts needed, look at the chart on the board, where the schedule is located; it indicates the approximate number of people that attend each mass. 

Fr. Tim uses his own silver paten with small hosts inside and the large host on top.

The flagon, all the ciboria with unconsecrated hosts, and the priest’s paten go on the Offertory Table near the back of church; it is the altar server’s responsibility to take them there.  When there are no servers, it is done by one of the Eucharistic Ministers.  If the cruet, used for purification, has not been filled with water by an altar server, one of the Eucharistic Ministers takes care of it also.

One purificator is needed for each chalice; the purificators are stored in a drawer in the center island.  Each chalice and purificator is placed on the Credence Table which is the shelf next to the sacristy door.  

The captain and one other minister remain in the sacristy until all of the positions are filled.  If any of the assigned ministers has not arrived 8 to 10 minutes prior to the start of mass, either minister may find replacements for the absent ministers but one should remain in the sacristy until all the positions are filled.   As the ministers arrive they check off their name so the captain knows if any substitutes are needed.   When someone was contacted before mass to fill in for another minister, the substitute’s name can be written in; otherwise it is to be left blank.  Checkmarks are used to review patterns of consistent absences and can help the minister themselves determine if they need to adjust their schedule.

At “The Lamb of God” the captain goes directly to the tabernacle.  Open the tabernacle door, genuflect and take the ciboria from the tabernacle. Place the lid inside the tabernacle and close the door. Take the ciboria to the altar, and join the other ministers on the side of the sanctuary closest to the tabernacle.  There is a Luna in the tabernacle with a consecrated host inside it for adoration, leave it in the tabernacle

It is the captain’s responsibility to see that all the vessels have been cleaned and the sacristy is in good order.  Remind ministers assigned to positions numbers two and three that they are responsible for helping to clean the communion vessels.  If anyone in positions one, two or three are visiting the homebound after mass, another minister should be asked to help out in the sacristy after mass.