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Sterling silver communion host pyx engraved with a cross, wheat, and a grape cluster used by a US Army chaplain

Object | Accession Number: 2010.463.2

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    Sterling silver communion host pyx engraved with a cross, wheat, and a grape cluster used by a US Army chaplain


    Brief Narrative
    Sterling silver, engraved altar bread host used by Father Edward Henry, a chaplain in the United States Army in Europe during World War II. A pyx is a vessel used to transport consecrated communion host. As a Catholic priest, he carried a portable Mass kit to administer last rites, to offer communion, and to perform mass for the troops. Father Henry and his unit took part in the liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany on August 25, 1944. He was one of the first American priests to hold mass in the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris after liberation.
    use:  1944-1945
    use: Paris (France)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Estate of Edward Henry
    base, exterior, engraved : STERLING
    Subject: Edward C. Henry
    Edward C. Henry was born in 1912 in Trenton, New Jersey, the youngest of 10 children. He graduated from Our Lady of Angels Seminary at Niagara University in New York. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 13, 1937. He enlisted in the United States Army and served as a chaplain in Texas, England, and France.

    On August 25, 1944, Father Henry and his regiment assisted in the liberation of Paris soon after the landings in Normandy that June. In reflecting upon his service as an army chaplain, he noted that "it was hard to get used to," as soldiers "half alive would come in and you try to ease their last moments." He was one of the first American priests to say mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame post liberation. Father Henry traveled throughout France, performing last rites, saying mass, and administering communion to the troops.

    After the war, he returned to New Jersey and led three congregations prior to retiring in 1970. He died in 1999, age 87 years old.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Pyxes (aat)
    Physical Description
    Circular sterling silver communion host container. The hinged lid has a beaded border and a grape cluster, wheat sheaves, and a cross engraved in the center. Circular and triangular tabs are soldered to the bottom edge of the lid at the 5 and 6 o’clock positions. A rectangular stem with a suspension ring attached to the back and a curved, flat topped crown is soldered to the bottom of the concave base. To open, the crown is pushed down and the tabs are pulled forward. There is English text engraved on the base exterior. The interior is gold plated.
    overall: Height: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm) | Width: 1.875 inches (4.763 cm) | Depth: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm)
    overall : sterling silver, gold

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Corporate Name
    United States. Army

    Administrative Notes

    The pyx was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by John Grasser and Linda Layton, on behalf of the Estate of Edward Henry.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-09-01 09:04:14
    This page:

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