For the most part, priesthood needs very little equipment. To celebrate Mass, for example, all we really need are a few fancy garments, some pretty cups and bowls, a few expensive books, and a nice big church comes in handy too. However, it sometimes happens that we celebrate Mass on the road or in nursing homes or other places where all the equipment is not available. In that case, a very useful priestly item is the Mass Kit. It consists of all the basic things needed to say Mass with. They usually cost upwards of $100 and come in various sizes. The smallest are like equipment for doll houses, and the biggest ones practically contain their own altar. Not wanting to spend the money when I was a newly ordained, I decided to build my own. It has taken me a while to collect all the necessary items but here it is: Chalice (the cup), patten (the plate), water and wine, candles and crucifix, altar bread, and altar linens.
It needs to all fold up into a handy travel case. For a long time I couldn’t find anything that was just the right shape. Finally I settled on a Plano Guide Series case, like a small tackle box but without dividers. I called several sporting goods stores but none of them carried this particular model.One day I stopped at a local store. I described what I was looking for and the helpful salesman said, “No, we don’t have anything like that,” and walked away. Right behind his head on the shelf was exactly what I was looking for, and it was the only one in the store.
I had some chunks of 5×5 foam left over from the boxes they ship Easter candles in. Half an hour of snipping and I had a custom-made Mass kit.
The finished product is surprisingly heavy, weighing in at 2kg and measuring 9.5×7.5×4 inches. In the picture below, the dollar bill is for scale (contrary to popular belief, a collection is not a necessary part of Mass). It is also surprisingly expensive — the chalice and patten were each $40, the case was about $30, and the rest was free. So my home-made inexpensive kit cost me about $110. So I spent the same amount of money, just spread out over a period of time. At least I can brag that I built it myself.
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