Both were left at my last parish assignment by moving priests. They are kind of unique and I thought you might find them interesting. A Mass kit, of course, is a “Mass In a Box” of sorts. It enables you to have what you need to say Mass in a place that is not set up for such things.
This one comes from the U.S. Air Force. If you look closely at the contents list (below) it becomes apparent that this kit was made before Vatican II as it mentions such things as “Mass cards.” The two small canisters with lids are the candles. I suppose if you are saying mass around where helicopters are landing or taking off you would want to protect the flame from the breeze of the blades.
The whole thing is in a soft container that was, until recently, also filled with formed sponge but that had become so deteriorated it had mostly turned to sand.
I thought about getting rid of this kit or passing it on to another priest but it does come in handy from time to time though the last time I used it was about two summers ago when I went on a cattle drive in Wyoming. Several of us were able to gather together in a tent and have a simple Mass. Most other Mass kits would have not been very practical on this trip.
The next kit came from the United States Army and every piece is stamped with a bold "U.S." It is actually quite a nice, substantial, heavy kit which I also think predates Vatican II. The box itself, which is made out of steel, transforms into an altar though the places I have taken it (such as the nursing home or boy scout camp) generally at least have a table for me to use.
Catholics do not travel lightly (as I am discovering through preparing to move) though Catholics in the Air Force seem to come as close as possible. We have not even touched on the books, vestments and bottles of wine.
And you thought your kid’s school backpacks were weighted down. . .