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March 31, 2010
A chalice from another time
By John Gleason
During the Year for Priests, the Denver Catholic Register has had the privilege of sharing priests’ stories about their chalices. Last week, Msgr. James Rasby told the Register about a special chalice he received.
Q: When was this chalice made?
A: 1702, according to the inscription on the bottom. It originally came from Spain, although I’m not sure where.
Q: How did it come into your position?
A: At the time I was pastor at the Cathedral (Basilica of the Immaculate Concep-tion), I was having lunch with Bishop George Evans. During the meal he said, “I know of your fondness for antiques and old things so I have something for you.” Then he presented me with this beautiful chalice.
Q: Describe it.
A: It stands about 12 inches tall and is silver in color except for the inside of the cup, which is gold. Around the base are etchings of angels while angel heads adorn the node and the cup portion. It’s similar to the Bishop Machebeuf chalice (at the cathedral), although it’s a bit older. It really is lovely.
Q: And what of its history?
A: Other than when it was made, from the date on the bottom, I couldn’t say. Bishop Evans said he brought it from Rome but before that its journey is a mystery. While I was pastor, I used it once in awhile. Now I have it on display with several others.
Q: Tell us about the other chalices.
A: There is my ordination chalice that my family gave me in 1952; I received one for my 25th anniversary and, finally, I have one that was made for me by an artist from Taos, New Mexico. It’s ceramic with a southwestern design, very ornate. They’re all just beautiful.
Q: So is it fair to say that the chalice that you received from Bishop Evans is your favorite?
A: I don’t know about that. Let’s just say that, yes, I do have a fondness for old things and (laugh) as I become an old thing myself, I appreciate them even more.