Mission Vocabulary

Mission Vocabulary
By Jake Ivey

Holy water basin

albas de diferentes lienzos con punta unas y otras Ilanas
Alb, a loose-fitting white linen gown, worn over the friar's habit for Mass; bound at the waist by the singula or cincture. "Of different linens, some with lace and others plain; ...." See the discussion of fabric and the methods of working it.
(Adams and Chavez, Dominquez, p. 356).

almaisales de diferentes colores
Humeral veils of various colors. A humeral veil was a long shawl-like vestment worn over the dalmatic by the subdeacon or his equivalent while holding the paten during part of a solemn Mass; also worn over the chasuble or the cope by the celebrant when carrying the Holy Eucharist in procession or to the sick.
(Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 356).

amitos, unos con puntas y otros Ilanos
Amice, a linen cloth worn on the head, under the hood; put on before the alb. This particular listing mentions some amices with lace and others plain.
(Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 351).

baldaquina, baldoquin, baldachin
A stationary pillared or hanging canopy over the tabernacle or altar. Not the same as the tabernacle veil, or palia (see palio and palia).  (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 352).

baso de plata para el deposito
Vase of silver to serve, as the Repository: Adams and Chavez say that a "repository" is a specially prepared altar shrine for depositing the consecrated Host after the Mass on Holy Thursday, where it is kept until the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday (Dominguez, p. 359). De deposito could, by extension, have meant the same as copon, "ciborium". Other terms for this could be píxide or rodalito, both of which can mean a little metal case, usually round, for keeping the consecrated Host in the tabernacle and for taking it to the gravely ill as the Viaticum .
(Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, pp. 355, 363); see cajetas ... para administrar el viatico. The reference is from a 17th century inventory of the Flordia missions; none of these items are mentioned in the New Mexico inventories. What provision was made for these functions in that province is unknown.

bolsas de corporates de diferentes colores
Burses for the corporals: small square pouches in which to carry the corporals for the Mass; they are covered with cloth that matches the chasuble in color and pattern, and are placed over the veil-covered chalice before and after Mass.  (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 352).

caja de cedro para los ornamentos
Cedar chest for the vestments, usually kept in the sacristy. This is a standard foot-locker sort of chest, with a swing-up lid, as opposed to the chest of drawers (escritorio).

cajeta de plata para administrar el viatico
Container of silver for administering the Viaticum: as mentioned above, this is probably the same as the píxide or rodalito, a small case with a lid for carrying the consecrated host as the Viaticum to the extremely ill. Such a case could also serve as the copon, or ciborium, in the tabernacle.

calice con su patena de plata
Chalice with its paten of silver. The chalice is a large, decorated cup, usually of silver with a gold plated interior, used to dispense the wine during Communion. The paten is a slightly concave metal dish, gold-plated on top, to hold the Host for the Mass; it is placed on top of the chalice at some points in the Mass.
(Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 358).

campaña para tocar a misa
Bell to ring the mass; campaña usually refers to the large bell hanging in the belltower or at the front or side of the church.

çandia de plata para bauttizar
Literally, "silver watermelons," but meaning a large silver baptismal basin, probably mounted on a pedestal just inside the front door of the mission church or in a room to one side of the nave or sanctuary.

capas de coro de diferentes colores y generos de seda
Choir copes of various colors and types, of silk. The choir cope is a liturgical vestment for use in solemn functions in the choir - it is an ornamental cape worn by Mass servers over the surplice or rochet .
(Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, pp. 352, 354).

cassullas de diferentes colores y generos
Chasubles of various colors and materials. A chasuble is a heavy, long, tunic-like vestment, the outer vestment of the celebrant of Mass. For descriptions of the fabric and the cost of this and other vestments, see the text discussion below. The color of the chasuble is determined by the feast or season on which it is worn (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 353.) The chasuble itself could be called the ornamento, but more usually this term meant a complete set of vestments of a matched color (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 363) and their associated items of no particular color requirement.. For some reason translators frequently treat this term as though it means "ornament," some decorative item, rather than the specific meaning of liturgical vestment to be worn during the Mass.

A scepter

colcha de algodon
Coverlet or counterpane of cotton; any cloth covering or dustcover.

corona de plata
Crown of silver, usually used on a statue of the Virgin, and is frequently called an "Imperial crown." However, Arfe in VARIA COMENSURACION, p. 109, says that it could be used on either the Virgin or the Niño Jesus.

The square piece of linen on which the consecrated Host is placed during Mass.  (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 354)

Curtain: there is a specific mention in the 1772 inventory of San Juan Capistrano in San Antonio, Texas, of "dos cortinas grandes moxadas" with which the altars are covered "en el tiempo Santo."

crismeras de plata (sets)
Chrism vials of silver: cylindrical metal containers with caps or lids in which the santos oleos (holy oils) were stored. These usually came in sets of three, one each for baptism, confirmation, and extreme unction. It may be uncertain whether the inventory uses "crismeras" to indicate a single vial, or a set of three.

crux de plata para el pendon
Silver cross for the banner, a silver cross attached to the top of the pole on which a religious banner was hung from a cross-arm.

cuadros de diferentes imagenes, lienzos de diferentes imagenes, custodia de plata
Monstrance of silver: the metal receptacle in which the Holy Eucharist was kept as well as displayed for public adoration (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 357). At the top of the monstrance was a large, round structure of silver, rayed like the sun, called the viril; in the center of the viril was the vidriera, or glass section within which the Host would be displayed. Sometimes a custodia was referred to as a "viril" or "biril.

dalmaticos, par de
Pair of dalmatics: a pair of wide-sleeved, square-cut vestments of the same material and color as the chasuble, worn by the deacon and subdeacon assisting the celebrant at a solemn function (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 355). Other items not mentioned in this list are the estola and the manipulo. The estola, or stole, was a long band or scarf hung around the neck and down the chest of the friar, of the same color and material as the chasuble, and used by the celebrant in all liturgical functions, while the manipulo, or maniple, was an ornamental band worn hanging from the priest's left forearm when he was vested for Mass.  (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 357, 362).

Halo: a metal circlet of gold or silver attached to a santo. Only one of these is mentioned in the New Mexico inventory of 1672, and this listing implies that it was to be used with a bulto of the Virgin.

Generally, a writing desk, but in the context of a mission inventory of the sacristy, however, it usually takes its second meaning, a large chest of drawers, commonly adomed with inlay work.

Mirror: no liturgical or decorative use of this item is suggested by 17th century New Mexico examples. Small pieces of mirror or other reflective material, such as mica, were used on a retablo, but the mirrors listed here are probably not those decorative items. In New Mexico in the eighteenth century, however, mirrors are mentioned in the sacristy to be used during vesting; (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 35 and 66), for example.

lanterns or lamps. See lintema.

frontales de diferentes colores y generos
Antependia, or frontals, of various colors and materials. A frontal was a heavy curtain or hanging on the front of the altar; in New Mexico the altars were painted with decorative patterns along the edges, leaving a space where the frontal itself would hang. The color of the frontal should match that of the chasuble and other items of the vestments.

Commonly, a banner, but ecclesiastically a cross carried in procession. In this case, since it is distinguished from a silver processional cross, it is probably of wood.

hierro de ostia
Host iron: a large tong-shaped device made of iron, each jaw of which had a round, flat iron mold affixed. These tongs were heated in a fire, then wheat batter was poured into one mold and the jaws closed; the two molds created a cake or wafer with a pattern or religious symbol molded into it on each side. In the 17th century in New Mexico and Florida, only a few missions had these irons to make altar breads, because only a few missions administered communion to the Indians. Missions without host irons had breads shipped to them from missions of higher status with irons, for the use of the priest himself during mass.

imagenes de Nuestra Señora niñios Jesuses y diferentes santos
Images of Our Lady, baby Jesuses, and various saints: image, in this case, could refer to either a painting or a statue, in the round or bas-relief. In order for the translator to be sure which is meant, the inventory must make some additional comments or descriptions, which sometimes it does not.

incensario con naveta y cadena de plata
Thurible or censer of silver, a metal receptacle with a perforated lid, suspended from a ring by chains (cadenas) for burning incense in church ceremonies (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 363), The naveta is the incense boat, a vessel in which incense is kept before being placed in the thurible to be burned. The naveta usually has a cuchara or cucharilla, a spoon used to measure out incense into the thurible.

lampara (de plata) (de asofar)
Lamp: in the context of an inventory of the sacristy or sanctuary, probably refers specifically to the altar lamp, lit when the consecrated Host is in the tabernacle (see the discussion under sagrario, above). The lampara can be substituted for by a lintema; lintemas de oja de lata (tin-plated lanterns) for saying Mass on the road were included in the travel supplies for Franciscans coming to New Mexico
(Scholes, "Mission Supply Service," p. 101).

Lantern. It is possible that these served as altar lamps when Mass was celebrated or when the Host was in the tabernacle or its equivalent.

See Comialtar

manteles de altar ... unas con puntas y otras Ilanas
Altar cloths - three long linen cloths required to be placed on the altar table when Mass is celebrated, the top one hanging to the floor at either end (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 351). A tabla de manteles originally referred to the full set of three cloths, but apparently could be used to indicate a single cloth.

Ritual book, a handbook of rites
(Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 357).

Missal, the large book containing everything pertaining to the Mass and its celebration.  (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 357).

mucetas de generos diferentes de seda para adminstrar el viatico
Mozzeta: an ornamental cape worn for solemn functions, generally the same as a capa de coro (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, pp. 352, 354). In the case listed here, the mozzetas are of various fabrics of silk, and were to be used for the administration of the Beaticum.

Vestments; see cassulla.

Pall; this is a generic word, along with its related term, patio, above. The meaning depends on the context. Usually, if the item is of linen, it is an altar cloth of some sort, and could also be referred to as a mantel de altar. If the palia is of silk or any fine material other than linen, it probably means a tabernacle veil. However, in Texas in the late 18th century, more decorative altar cloths were in use; for example, at San Juan, "ocho Palias, dos de las quales son de Tisu de oro, i las demas mui decentes para odomo de los Altares," eight palls, two of which are of tissue of gold, and the rest very decent to adorn the altars. "Cert." 10:4277.<==???

"Palio" frequently refers to a veil or coveting associated with the altar; it can mean a chalice veil, or the canopy, a portable covering carried on four poles and held over the consecrated Host during processions, differing from the baldoquin, which is fixed in place above the tabernacle on the altar. Both palio and palia can also refer to the chalice pall, a square linen cloth of two thicknesses, reinforced with cardboard or the equivalent, placed over the chalice during Mass.
(Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, pp. 351, 352,358. See the discussion under palia, above.

pano de atril
Cloth cover for the atril, the stand holding the missal book. pano de mano - Hand cloths, hand towels.

pano para dar la communion
Cloth for giving the communion, to wipe the mouth of one who has received the sacramental wine.

Banner, flag, usually of the local town or representing the church or a saint.

Altar screen; a large, multiple-section structure at the back of the altar with gilded frames, and paintings or statues of saints. The word "reredos" is not Spanish, but an English term for the same general sort of object, taken from Old French. In New Mexico, some of these were locally made, but others were shipped from the workshops of master craftsmen in Mexico City, and could be up to 25 feet high and as much as 17 feet wide.  (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, pp. 350-63).

Rochet, also called the "server's surplice," frequently used as synonymous to the sobre pelliz by Franciscans; it is a short white garment worn by servers over their cassocks, or opas. Opa is a "server's cassock;" it is an obsolete term for the cassock worn by the Mass server, under the rochet. A "Mass server" was originally an acolyte, one of the minor orders leading to the priesthood; they assisted the celebrant at solemn functions at the altar. Since ordained acolytes were usually not available on the frontier, their duties were taken over probably by Indian neophytes, usually boys; or by the sacristan, an adult Indian neophyte (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, pp. 350,362). However, in 18th-    century Texas, there is a specific mention of "roquetes para los Acolitos."
"Certificacion, e Ymbentario de la Miss[io]n de San Juan Capistrano," OSMHRL, roll 10, fr. 4275.

sagrario dorado
Tabernacle covered with gold leaf. The tabernacle is the veiled box on the altar table in which the Eucharist is kept (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 363). "The Eucharist" is the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, also called Communion, but the word has been generalized to refer as well to the elements of that sacrament: the consecrated bread and wine. The consecrated bread is also called the Host, or the Blessed Sacrament. "Host" can also refer to the sacramental bread before consecration. In translations of Spanish documents, the sagratio is frequently confused with the copon, the ciborium or pyx, a chalice-shaped vessel with a tight-fitting lid surmounted by a cross, in which the consecrated Hosts are kept within the tabernacle itself (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 353). The term deposito or vaso de deposito is apparently a synonym for the copon.

Cincture, a long girdle or sash with which the friar bound the loose alb at the waist; it also secured the estola, or stole, in place
(Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 362).

sobre pallis
Surplice, a wide-sleeved garment of white linen or lace reaching to above the knee, used by the clergy in choir or over the cassock or habit at certain functions; more or less the same as the alb and rochet
(Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 362).

velo o cortina
Veil or curtain. A velo can be a humeral veil: a long, shawl-like vestment worn over the tunicle or dalmatic by a subdeacon while holding the paten during part of a solenin Mass, or over the chasuble or the cope by the celebrant when carrying the Holy Eucharist in procession or to the sick, or when blessing the people at Benediction (the humeral veil is more usually called an almaizal); (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 356. A cortina can be a curtain, drapery, hanging, screen or a covering in general; the combination of the two here indicates that a generic veil rather than the humeral veil was meant.

velos de calices de diferentes colores
Chalice veil; also called the patio de calice, a square cloth of the same color and material as the chasuble, placed over the chalice, paten, and chalice pall (see palio), and under the burse, before and after Mass
(Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 353).

vinagares, pares de, de plata
Pairs of cruets of silver: two small vessels of glass or metal, one for the wine and the other for the water used at Mass (Adams and Chavez, Dominguez, p. 354). Platillo: small plate - the plate of the same design and decoration as the vinageras, on which they are kept. Juan de Arfe y Villafañe, in VARIA COMENSURACION, p. 104, say that although the two cruets should be of the same general design and decoration, the cruet for wine should be clearly different in some way from that for the water so that the celebrant will know which is which.