Burning found Hosts

Every year after Christmas and sometimes easter vairious parishioners come forward with Hosts they find in vairious places. Often stuck between the pages of the missallette or under the pew. I know it sounds rather odd but we get LOTS of visitors who haven’t a clue what they are doing and evidently they don’t like the taste of the host… THis year after mass our parish deacon and I disposed of around 10 hosts that were left on a paten. The hosts were disfigured and had obviously been in someones mouth so we declined in consuming them. The ground here is frozen solid so we got a big huge incense bowl and burned the hosts…

I guess I am asking if what we did was correct. I parish does not have a sacrerarium (piscina)


The hosts should have been placed in a bowled and dissolved. They could very well have been taken to another parish for proper disposal.

The ashes still need to be buried, so it may be best to place then in a bowl of water allow them to dissolve and then pour the water into the ground where it will not be walked on. There is a way to break into the frozen ground, boil some water to soften the ground, dig a hole in a flower bed before pouring it in. then cover it up.

Which would require a 100 mile round trip… somthing I am not willing to do in this weather.

I will ask the bishop next week when I meet with him. I thought of the water…but the deacon (who is a canon lawyer) assured me that burning them is a sufficient way of destroying the host.

It is an acceptable way, but disposing of the ashes is difficult and great care must be taken that they are properly disposed of and not blown around.

What I don’t get is why you posted your question? Our you a priest?, layman?
It seems if you are in a position of such responsibility, you would know the answer.
It also seems you know the appropriate resources to answer your question.

This doesn’t add up.

The poster is studying to be a deacon. He came here because, I assume, he probably had some nagging doubt about what happened. Even though the deacon (who is a canon lawyer) assured him that there was nothing wrong, I don’t think that the OP found that reasoning sufficient and was wondering if anyone else had a similar situation or could validate what had been done.

I have never read or heard that they can be burned only dissolved until the appearance of bread is gone. Then they are to be poured down the sacrarium or a hole in the ground and buried.

An Orthodox priest was assigned to a church that had not had a priest in nearly a year.

As was his wont when going to a new church, he examined the pyx in the Tabernacle to prepare to renew the Holy Mysteries.

Things resembling small black bbs stared back at him.

His dean told him to get a good hot fire going in the censer, and to burn them.

Since in the Orthodox Church the Mystery is celebrated with leavened bread, which does not dissolve in water, and for reservation is dyed with the Precious Blood, what else could be done under the circumstances?

I think the thing to ask the bishop for is a sacrearium! What did you do with the ashes from the burning? If you put those out in a sheltered part of the parish grounds, than you could have done the same with the water leftover from dissolving the hosts. This conversation needs to happen between you and the deacon and your priest. After that get the bishop involved if necessary, but mostly to get your sacristy properly equipped.

Thanks Benedictgal. Your post is dead (and I mean exactly spot on) correct. It just seemed sorta odd that we didnt bury the ashes. I am not in nor will ever be in a position of authority…I had a sincerer question and I got it. Guess what I am doing tonight after work!!! Digging a hole in the frozen ground in the flower bed next to the church. I hop I don’t get arrested or accused of stealing flower bulbs.

I am not sure you would want to think what my priests opinion on the matter is. But a hind here is no burning, no soaking and involves a garbage can. I chose the deacon with this issue for a reason.

I’m always amazed when I hear this. I have never and I mean never heard this happening in my large parish with several Masses at both Easter and Christmas. I have “readied” the church between Masses more than my share of times and neither I nor the people I have worked with have ever come across a ditched host. Not ever.

The dry leavened particles will certainly dissolve, it will just take a bit longer. Using fresh wine instead of water also accelerates the process. That’s what I would have done.

Ms Sally,
If your priest suggested you place the Host in the garbage can, you must contact your bishop.
There are only a few things that one is automatically excommunicated for doing, and throwing away the Consecrated Species is one of them. Your bishop must be told about this.

In case anyone thinks that burning the Host is a modern ‘lack-of-reverence’ thing - I remember forty years ago, the priest at our then parish making a little bonfire outside church to burn a child’s vomit which contained the Blessed Sacrament. Presumably, because it was vomit he didn’t want to pollute any sacristy bowl or glass needed to dissolve the Host in water. It was all mixed up with paper tissue anyway.

Not only was the priest in question someone with nearly 40 years experience, he was also a Canon, so I am sure he knew what he was doing.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.