Liturgical vessels are containers and other items used during a service to administer the Holy Communion, collect the offering, baptize an individual, and/or hold the various elements used in the Holy Communion.
The following is a description of the vessels used in Wenchoster Cathedral:
CHALICE: a cup made of gold or silver, which is used to hold wine for consecration, and from which wine is administered to communicants, and which, if they don't offer a guiding hand, will often crash against their teeth causing momentary pain.
PATEN: a small, round, slightly concave dish which fits over the mouth of a chalice and which holds breads and host during the preparation, consecration, and communion in a Eucharist. It is made of gold or silver. It is not to be used for small change, as a receptacle for peanuts, or a cuff-link tray.
CIBORIUM: a cup with a lid, made of gold or silver, which is used for holding and transporting wafers when they are used for Eucharistic bread. At Wenchoster cathedral it is used at the main Mass on Sunday mornings to bring the bread forward at the offertory and to serve the communion. At the midweek celebrations it can hold anything from the priest's false teeth to ginger nuts from the refectory.
BREAD BOX: a small-lidded box made of silver or gold (or out in the parishes, wood) in which the Altar breads are kept on the credence shelf until required in the celebration of the Eucharist. When real bread is used it can serve as a repository for the sacred crumbs until such time as they can be consumed.
CRUETS: containers for the wine and the water. One is provided for each substance. The cathedral cruet for the wine is inscribed with "The gift of Obadiah Grindle, 1907", and the cruet for the water is inscribed with "The gift of Kathleen O'Mara Grindle, 1907". Cruets may be made of gold, silver, or more commonly glass.
FLAGON: a lidded, pitcher-shaped vessel, usually made of silver, which is used to hold larger amounts of wine than a cruet can contain. At the cathedral Harvest Super it is traditionally used to bring in the "Chapter Libation" - an ancient mix of local cider, "Bishop's Topple ale", cherries and cinnamon, into which is inserted a red-hot poker.
LAVABO BASIN: used in the ceremonial washing of the Celebrant's fingers, following the preparation of the elements in a Eucharist. It is usually made of gold or silver. It is sometimes accompanied by a smaller silver or gold dish to hold the soap. A server is usually on hand with a warm towel and fragrant oils.
SPOON: made of gold or silver and kept on the credence shelf for use by the Celebrant, if necessary, in removing impurities from the Chalice. Few cathedral clergy use this implement, many preferring the less ostentatious deft flick with the finger to remove flies, bat or mouse droppings, or wafer fragments that return from a communicant's lips to the wine. A ladle from the Refectory should not be used under any circumstances.
ALMS BASINS: used to hold the offerings and alms of the congregation. They are made of metal, usually brass. The cathedral has an unusually fine set of 6 matching basins presented to the Chapter in 1951 by Major Persimmon Spat, in memory of his batman, Avery Mashing, with whom he served from 1938 - 1944, and who was killed on D-Day by American commandos as he came out a German bunker where he had gone to see if there were any tea bags.
RECEIVING BASIN: larger in circumference than the alms basin and used to receive alms basins when offerings or alms are to be offered to the officiant at the Altar. It is made of metal, usually brass. This is only superseded by the Presentation Basin, which is used to receive the receiving basin which has in turn received the alms basins, and present them at the High Altar. Plans to introduce a Super-Receiving basin to receive the receiving basins were dropped in 2002 following a Health & Safety inspection.
EWER: a pitcher for water used at services of Holy Baptism. It is made of metal, usually brass. This must be cleansed with scalding water before the service to remove spiders, flies and other creepy-crawlies. The person responsible must not forget to discard this hot water and replace it with fresh cold water (as determined by the rubrics). Failure to do this will result in a repetition of the Scalding Incident of 1972 and claims for compensation through the courts.
BAPTISMAL SHELL: used at the option of the priest or other officiant, pouring water from the font upon the head of a person being baptized. It is either an actual scallop shell, or is shaped to resemble one, in which case it is made of gold or silver. Oyster shells are also used in the cathedral since they are commonly found along our coastline. Conch shells from the Indian Ocean, painted with seascapes, and fitted for electricity, are prohibited.
SPITTOON: only used with certain clergy, this bowl is made of brass and was brought back from Nome, Alaska, at the end of the 19th century Gold Rush by the Revd. Vernon Flapjack who served there as a Missioner for the Diocese of Wenchoster from 1878 - 1891. He was shot twice, arrested for lewd behaviour on four occasions, and became chaplain to the Nome Palace of Fun from 1889 which led to his being recalled. It is the Head Verger's duty to periodically empty this vessel.