(Latin sacrastia , vestry).
A room in the church or attached thereto, where the vestments, church furnishings and the like, sacred vessels , and other treasures are kept, and where the clergy meet and vest for the various ecclesiastical functions. It corresponds to the secretarium or diaconicum of old. At present the almost universal practice is to have the sacristy directly behind the main altar or at either side. The sacristy should contain cases, properly labelled, for the various vestments in all the liturgical colors; a crucifix or other suitable image in a prominent position to which the clergy bow before going to the sanctuary and on returning (Ritus celebrandi missam, II, i); a lavatory, where the officiating clergy may wash their hands (op. cit. I, i); a copy of the Decree of Urban VIII prohibiting certain offices and masses (S. R. C., 460 ad 6; 555 § Et ne); a book containing the obligations of the Church regarding foundations and their fulfillment ( Innocent XII, Nuper, § 26, 21 Dec., 1699). It is customary to have a holy water font, and a bell to admonish the congregation of the advent of the clergy, at the door leading to the sanctuary. The sacristy is not blessed or consecrated together with the church, and consequently is not a sacred place in the canonical sense. However, except where penalties are concerned, it enjoys on the whole the same prerogatives as the church. When a sacristy directly behind the sanctuary has two entrances, the clergy enter the sanctuary at the gospel side, and leave by the epistle side (S.R.C., 3029 ad 12). A double sacristy is sometimes provided, one for the clergy, one for the altar boys. Canons too usually have their own sacristy. In cathedrals, where there is no special chapel for this purpose, there should be a separate sacristy ( secretarium ) with an altar, where the bishop may assist at Terce and prepare for pontifical Mass (Cærem. Episcoporum, I, 137; II, 74; see SACRISTAN).
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online