Friday, March 16, 2012


I thought for a spell that we would take a look at some of the sacred vessels used here at St. Sebastian.  Rarely do people get to have a very close look so maybe you might find it interesting. 

This is a chalice of my possession (some will belong to me, some to the parish, and some to Fr. Pfeiffer) that I inherited from the Rev. Robert Hilkert.  He was my first pastor as a newly ordained priest and just an overall great human being.  I am very thankful that he was there to be my first mentor.

This was his main chalice that used most regularly on Sundays.  For its size it is quite heavy.  He was in his 80s when I was with him and he had to use both hands to lift it up and even then he could only lift it so high.  It was also black as black could be.  I told him I would clean it for him but he thought it fine just the way it was.

Its provenance is unknown.  (Did he buy it?  Did he get from another priest?  Did he have it commissioned or was it one of many?)  All I know is that being entrusted to me the first thing I did was send it away to be cleaned.  I told the company that I thought it was not that special of a metal being heavy and completely back as it was.  It was later that I was informed that it was silver.  Solid silver.
When the chalice was cleaned I had this inscribed on the bottom:

The Rev. Robert . Hilkert
Tu es sacerdos in aeternum
Ordained 1912
Died 2005

I apologize for the quality of the pictures.  My camera just does not seem to be taking as good of pictures as it once did (is that possible or are my expectations rising?)  Anyway, you can see that there is a lot going on here.  At the base of the cup (above the blue node) there is a depictions of the Holy Spirit as a dove, olive branch in beak (peace) whose wings are holding the base of the cup.  The Holy Spirit is perched on a blue and white stone that is rather reminiscent of the planet Earth.

The base below the stone is a flame of fire - another symbol of the Holy Spirit rising from the crown of thorns (The Passion) which encircles the base of the chalice.  In the center front of the chalice is a cross with a diamond at its center.  The inscription around the base reads, "PAX NOSTRA CARITATE CHRISTI REDEMPTORIS" or "OUR PEACE, THE LOVE OF CHRIST REDEEMER."

It is thought that the paten (plate) that came with the chalice is not original.  This chalice may not have been commissioned with a paten.  Shown here (sorta - again, sorry for the quality of the picture) is the Lamb of God sitting in the book with seven seals (from the book of Revelation) holding the flag of victory and the word PAX or PEACE.

I like to use this chalice in advent and lent and for funerals.  St. Sebastianites will notice this chalice during this Lenten season at all of my Masses.  Rest in Peace Fr. Hilkert.


Trevor said...

I googled the phrase "Tu es sacerdos in aeternum" and from what I found it translates - For it is attested of Him, "YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK." Is this the correct translation? It seems that the latin phrase is much shorter than the English translation. Thoughts?

Fr. V said...

Greetings T!

The only part of the Latin phrase written is, "You are a preist forever" the rest of the phrase being assumed.

Good eye.

Fr. V

Anonymous said...

Mike P. can get us better photographs. Would love to see the detail.

Fr. V said...


Good idea.

Anonymous said...

My father knew and very much loved Father Hilkert. My dad is not a Catholic and is not terribly sympathetic to Catholicism, but he enjoyed going to St. Ambrose for various functions and truly respected Father Hilkert. He was a godly man. Thanks for this post!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Polaroid would take better pictures, or at least lower your expectations?

Anonymous said...

Was he really ordained in 1912?