Concerning the Euchartist:


I’ve noticed twice at a new church that I’ve started attending since moving to a new area that during communion, a deacon or other lay minister of the Eucharist has transferred with their hand from one bowl to another the consecrated Eucharist. Much like one might grab a handful of potato chips and transfer them from one bowl to another. As one of them walked away, he brushed his fingers together as he walked as if to brush off crumbs. I was shocked but I didn’t have a moment to go to a priest about my concerns (I’m so often distracted by my two children that I easily forget). I’m actually very upset at seeing this happen, I just can’t believe the body and blood of Jesus Christ would be so flippantly handled.

Am I wrong? Is this the normal practice of refilling the bowl of a Eucharistic minister as they are distributing communion? I can hardly think that it is, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

If I’m not wrong, what do I do? What do I say to the priest?


How else would you transfer them? The transfer does not strike me as an issue.

Brushing off crumbs: if on the floor that’s an issue. If into the ciborium or chalice, that’s proper. If it was on the floor, just mention to the priest some training might be in order.


You do nothing, because nothing is being done that is wrong. I once thought as you, but then one day, while watching the process, I discovered the priest was doing the exact same thing. I discovered that I had been wrong in my perception that the EMHC’s were being irreverent–they were just as reverent as the priest, only I thought because he was a priest, he, of course, couldn’t handle the hosts irreverently. There is only one way to transfer those hosts, and that is to pick them up by the handful (not “grab”, as you perceive) and place them in another bowl. Or attempt to pour them from one bowl to another, which can cause hosts to fly out of the bowl, and if someone did that, someone would complain that it looked like they were pouring them out of a box of cereal. It would take forever to transfer them one by one. And yes, if they brushed off crumbs, it was into the bowl, not the floor.

We have to watch that our perceptions match the reality of the situation, or even that perhaps our prejudices don’t get in the way of our perceptions.


He brushed his fingers together toward the floor, not in the bowl. The incident would have escaped my noticed had he placed his hand over the bowl to do that because I would have noted that he had considered to take the care. That point when I saw him dusting his hand toward the floor was the whole reason alarm bells went off and I considered that I’ve never seen this sort of hand off done before in any other church I’ve gone to.

I’m still going to talk to the priest about it and let him know my concerns.

I’ve seen them trade bowls. A deacon or someone swapping an empty one or almost empty one for a full one. But “taking them up by a handful” and transferring them over open air between bowls (not being careful to even keep the bowls close to each other) just doesn’t seem like the proper care to take.

My concern over it has a great deal to do with the fact that my husband is Protestant and is attending church with me… How am I to expect him to even respect what we believe in regards to transubstantiation, if it appears that we don’t take care to respect and guard what we believe to be, not bread, but the Body of Christ? To him, what good is a golden bowl if we’d let even a drop of Christ fall to floor to be trampled? I’m more sensitive to this now than I was 10 years ago.


I can understand your concern, but could the fact that you have to look after your children, and worry about your husband’s opinion of the service, be causing you stress during mass? Has the behaviour you’ve described happened during every mass you’ve attended? Do all the Eucharistic ministers do this, or just one?

The reason I ask these questions is not to say your concern is not legitimate. I just think you should be certain there is a serious problem before approaching the priest. I guess, I just feel sorry for priests due to the workload they have in this age of few vocations. You might want to have some positive meetings with him, before claiming something sacrilegious is happening in his parish. It is probably not your intention, but that is what you would be implying.


If done in charity it never hurts visiting with the priest concerning something that troubles us. It is out of concern for the proper respect of our Lord which is a good thing, not bad. The priest will be able to handle these questions I’m sure.



Well, I certainly am facing new levels of stress during Mass. That is true. But when I see someone brushing off their hand to the floor after handling the Eucharist… That’s just going to bother me no matter what. I’ve never seen it before and this is a new parish for us so I guess in that light it really doesn’t look good to me because, for all I know it could be a pretty regular occurrence (it might not be. But what if it is and no one else has noticed or known to bring it to the attention of the priest? anything is possible). Regardless, I feel responsible, that I should point out that this happened to the priest, in hopes that it doesn’t happen again.

I know I’d be guilty of the body and blood of Our Lord if I received communion in a state of mortal sin… Would it be much different if I received communion having seen such a thing happen and done nothing about it?

I would think the priest would be more concerned with taking care that the Eucharist is treated with the outmost reverence that Our Lord deserves and would want to take measures in ensuring that. I wouldn’t be accusing him of anything… It’s as much as a mistake or at worse a lack of training. I’m certain the person who did that wasn’t intentionally doing it to be sacreligious, he genuinely seemed to not know better, an absentminded misstep perhaps. But concerning something that is such a big part of our faith we must be better examples, both to each other and to those who are sitting our pews who are not Catholic. Right?

I’ll speak with the priest, letting him know what I saw and my concern. All in a gentle spirit, of course.

I can understand transferring the Eucharist. I really feel that there are better ways than that, but still, I can understand… However brushing off the crumbs in the direction of the floor instead of the bowl is what I most take issue with.


Here is what to do. Approach the pastor with a checkbook and ask him how much he needs for an ablution cup. You can certainly do some homework online beforehand, I suggest $60-70 as a starting offer.


I like that idea, Elizium.

I forgot they had that at my old parish and I didn’t realize they didn’t have it here until you mentioned that. It’s almost Christmas too, so it would just so happen to be good timing for such a gift to the church. I’ll have to talk to my husband about it and see what we can afford to do.


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