That’s the little heap of cotton that was drenched in the “Oil of the Sick” (Oleum infirmorum), taken out of the “stock” used uncountable times this past year for the Last Rites. I’m sure the CDC would have comments to make about that. I’d have plenty of commentary to make right back at them. At any rate, I had to top off the “stock” many times.
The old cotton and oil is burned every year after the Chrism Mass, when new cotton and newly blessed Oil of the Sick is placed in the “stock.” That little fire, on tinfoil, is in the chapel of the rectory. The painting of Jesus is by a one-time parishioner just to the side of the Altar of Sacrifice. The subsequent dust gets washed down the Sacrarium.
Meanwhile, the containers of oil (oil of the sick, oil of catechumens, and the Sacred Chrism) from the Chrism Mass the previous year were poured out over the wood for the Easter fire at Easter Vigil, and the little plastic containers were thrown in as well. We didn’t have an explosively large Easter fire this year, just bigger than most I’ve ever seen anywhere, and very “solid” for a fire, meaning big chunks of wood burning really well.
Prepper idea: The prepper idea useful for, say, starting a campfire in wet conditions, is to use a fire starter made up of a cotton ball with a glop of petroleum jelly, neatly wrapped in tinfoil until ready for use. Scrape some magnesium on top of that, spark it, and place the whole thing under the bits of kindling that you have. It burns and burns with a sturdy flame. Easy. Efficient. That would get, for instance, my homemade rocket stove flaming up in no time, every time.