The corporal is:
- a square piece of linen, usually marked with a cross in the centre, that is laid upon the altar cloth or "fair linen".
- folded: in thirds = Holy Trinity; and as a cross.
- white (purity, glory, resurrection) and is marked with a simple or ornate white or red cross at the centre of the cloth or near the edge of the bottom of the linen (refer to the figure below) that aligns at the centre of the altar on or near the edge of the altar closest to where the priest stands.
- placed on the altar (symbol of Jesus), and when not in use is stored in the burse.
- practical: it catches particles of the Most Precious Body of Christ and any spills—God forbid!—of the Blood of Christ; and is symbolic: "corpus", meaning body.