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Elijah Cup

The Elijah Cup is a parish-wide effort to pray for an increase of vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life. Parishioners sign up for a specific week to bring the Elijah Cup home to pray with their families.

The Elijah Cup is a parish-wide effort to pray for an increase of vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life. Parishioners sign up for a specific week to bring the Elijah Cup home to pray with their families.

What is the Elijah Cup?

The Elijah Cup is a consecrated chalice – used during Mass to hold the precious blood of Jesus Christ – that parishioners are encouraged to bring home for a week at a time to pray for vocations.

How can I sign up?

Go to our Sign-up page and choose a date:

Why are we doing this?

Every vocation is needed in the Church, whether to married, consecrated or religious life, but priests in particular hold a very special place in the heart of the Church. Through Holy Orders, they are empowered to serve as a vessel of the Holy Spirit consecrating the bread and wine into the precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, without them, we wouldn’t have the Eucharist! Our archdiocese and our country needs more priests, deacons and religious, and every prayer for them counts. Join us through the Elijah Cup in praying for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life, and help bring new life into the heart of our Church for generations to come.

How can we pray with the Elijah Cup? What do we do once we get it home?

  • When you bring the Elijah Cup home, put it in a place of prominence that will be seen by family members each day. Gather together around the Elijah Cup daily to pray for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life.

  • This can be a great time to talk with children about what a vocation is – God’s call in your life – and to pray together for God’s help in discerning their own vocations when the time is right.

  • You can pray from the heart, use a variety of prayers available, or both. We’ve included some suggestions on this page and in the small binder you will receive along with the Elijah Cup, and you are free to pull them together as a prayer service as best fits your family and your children’s ages.

  • Remember to treat the Elijah Cup with respect as a sacred vessel and please keep it free of liquids or other objects. Remind children that it is so very special because it holds Jesus’ blood each week during Mass, and it is an honor to have it in our home.

How can I sign up?

Visit our Welcome table in the Narthex to sign up to start taking it home.

When does this start and how long will it last?

Beginning during the 2019 Lenten Season and extending throughout the year (and for years to come!), parishioners are encouraged to sign up. We would love for everyone in our parish family to take part.

Holy Family is re-joining parishes across the archdiocese in making the Elijah Cup a part of Parish Life. Longtime parishioners will recognize it from about 10-15 years ago, and the parish is excited to reintroduce it to a new generation of families.

Why do we call it the Elijah Cup?

We call it the Elijah Cup as a nod to our shared spiritual heritage with Judaism. During the Jewish Passover Seder, four cups of wine are poured and consumed at key moments during the meal, each remembering one of God’s promises to the enslaved Israelites (Exodus 6:6-7). A fifth cup, called the Cup of Elijah, is poured in honor of Old Testament prophet Elijah (1 and 2 Kings, Chronicles), who is well remembered for his contest on Mt. Carmel with the false prophets of Baal and his ascension into Heaven on a flaming chariot. The Elijah Cup is left untouched during the Seder Meal because it is a symbol of the Jewish belief that Elijah would return to usher in the Messianic Age – the time of the Messiah.*

As Christians, we, of course, believe that Jesus is the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament, and so it is fitting that the chalice filled with Christ’s Precious Blood during Mass would be called the Elijah Cup as we bring it into our homes to pray for vocations. For us, Christ is the fulfillment of the promises made to the Jewish people with whom we share such a rich spiritual heritage.

The Elijah Cup then is a symbol of the bridge between old and new testament, old and new covenant, and our mission as a Church that continues as we look toward Christ’s second coming. Our priests, deacons and religious play an important role in living out this mission, particularly in the sacramental life of our Church of which the Eucharist is the key.

(*There is a fifth promise in the same scripture passage which is set slightly apart from the others and therefore caused some disagreement among Jewish communities as to whether 4 or 5 cups should be consumed during the Seder. Pouring a fifth cup for Elijah also served to resolve this discrepancy. For more explanation of this, visit

Therefore, say to the Israelites: I am the LORD. I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and will deliver you from their slavery. I will redeem you by my outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God; and you will know that I, the LORD, am your God who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians and I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your own possession—I, the LORD! - Exodus 6:6-8 (The promises corresponding to the cups are bolded above.)

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