consuming host

Once some time ago I went foreward to take the host and returned to the pew knelt on the knee rests and took the host then. A woman corrected me saying that she noticed this and that the host needed to be consumed in front of the priest or whomever was holding the hosts. Is this so? I assumed she knew what she was talking about and consumed the host before returning to my seat from then on.


Yes the Host should always be consumed as soon as you receive it.

It is a modern practice - allowed by the Church, of course - to receive the consecrated host on the hand. The traditional practice - still fully in use and even advisable - is to kneel and receive the Holy Eucharist on the tongue.

Yet if we insist to touch the Bread of Life, there is a proper way to do so (see, for instance, here):

The faithful should consume the host before returning to their place

Look this is to much thinking and worring for nothing. and this is the first i have heard of this. If you are like me who can not comsume it right away then you are going to hold up the que. if you are a trust worthy person and not going to do anything sinful or bad then consuming it as you walk to you chair and kneeling is ok.

The way I always do it is in line when the person ahead of me is receiving I bow. Then when it’s my turn I hold my left hand in my right hand receive the host and with my right hand I then pick up the transubstantiated wafer and consume it. I’ve also heard not to eat anything an hour before receiving the eucharist. When the person replied “The body of christ” I respond “Amen” and return to my seat to kneel. I do not drink the wine and holy water. Is this all valid I was taught this in RCIA. Before I was baptized I crossed my arms over my chest and received a blessing.


This is actually not okay. I used to do that as a child and was told repeatedly that it was not okay, but could never understand why and so didn’t listen until I decided I wanted to look like a normal Catholic. One time when I did that, I was told later by my mom that a woman who saw me walking from line with the Host had started crying.

If you are unable to consume the Host right away, you can sit in one of the reserved seats and the priest or Eucharistic minister will bring It to you.

We have the opportunity to host an exchange student from Germany, and I want him to have a good experience in America.

this link

It really does matter. Unless the priest knows you well, how is he going to know you aren’t going to do anything bad with it? Do you want him to be distracted by having to watch you until you consume?

The easiest thing is to receive communion, make one step to the side (still facing the same direction), consume the Host, and then return to your seat. You don’t hold up the line, and you are clearly in view of whomever is distributing the Eucharist. It is the most polite solution for everyone and shows proper reverence for the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. You shouldn’t be consuming the Host while you are doing something else (like walking back to your seat).

Or of course if you are very concerned about holding up the line, you can just receive on the tongue.



From 350 A.D. the Catholic Church in the east: When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Fifth Mystagogical Catechesis, 21: p. 33, col 1125 (c. 350 AD) cited in *Quintsext Synod of Trullo, Canon 101 *(c. 692 AD)

Actually, this has always puzzled me, as most people, myself included, seem to find it more natural to reverse these instructions, i.e. use the right hand as a throne for the left, then use the right hand to pick up the Host from the left hand palm.

For right-handed people, doing it St. Cyril’s way would result in having to use the more awkward left hand to pick up with.
Obviously this wouldn’t apply to left-handers, but surely even then they were the minority, so it seems strange that he gave instructions that would suit them more than the majority. Perhaps St. Cyril was himself left-handed.

Or perhaps people were ambidextrous in those days.

It might take you a second to chew, but you need to put the host in your mouth as soon as it is given to you. Ideally, you take a step to the side and wait until you have swallowed, so that you are not “eating on the run”. However, bringing an unconsumed host back to your seat is not okay.

The not eating 1 hour before is correct info. It used to be that you couldn’t eat from midnight on, but it’s been changed to a 1 hour fast before Mass. The rest of the way you are consuming is fine. You don’t have to consume the precious blood along with the body, but you are welcome to.

You can just raise the hands up to the mouth and take it with your tongue, not fingers.

Wrong. It is an ancient practice. In fact for much of the First Millennium the Eucharist was received in the hand.

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In Mass I see people reverse it more often then not. I’ve never seen a priest seem upset by it?

LOL, I edited the wrong message. Disregard the second half of my post :blush:

I think the whole reason you’re expected to consume the host in front of the priest is so that he can be sure the Blessed Sacrament won’t be desecrated. In *theory *it wouldn’t hurt anything to go back to your seat and consume it there… But the priest doesn’t know your intentions, and there would be no way to differentiate you from someone who has no intention of ever consuming the host, and wants to desecrate it. So it’s really a safety measure.

I no longer go to the Catholic Church, and the church I go to now only gives communion on the tongue… But when I did go to the Catholic Church, I occasionally saw the priest chase after people who didn’t consume the host right away, and often he ended up taking it back from them after finding out they weren’t Catholic or something. My practice was usually to receive the host in my hand, step to the side so I wasn’t in the way of the person behind me, and consume it there before receiving the wine.

It was a practice back in the day to even take the Eucharist home.

No, it is an ancient practice. In the U.S. there is no “advisable” discipline regarding either Communion in the hand or on the tongue, which in any case “insists on” touching the Bread of Life. Either discipline is generally allowed, and each communicant has a right to choose for him or herself either discipline.

Ok, I am sorry, I meant to say that it is a practice that has not been in use for quite a long time, to the point that the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship writes in 1969 and refers to reception on the hand as “the new manner of giving communion” and to the previous one as “the traditional practice”.

As for “advisable”, I was referring to this quote:

In reply to the request of your conference of bishops regarding permission to give communion by placing the host on the hand of the faithful …] The Pope grants that throughout the territory of your conference, each bishop may, according to his prudent judgment and conscience, authorize in his diocese the introduction of the new rite for giving communion. The condition is the complete avoidance of any cause for the faithful to be shocked and any danger of irreverence toward the Eucharist. …] The rite of communion in the hand must not be put into practice indiscriminately. …] It is advisable, therefore, that the rite be introduced gradually and in the beginning within small, better prepared groups and in favorable settings.

It seems to me - just my impression, of course - that the Holy See underscores that reception on the hand is something to be addressed with great prudence, both due to the negative impression that can cause in the eyes of some and due to the possibility of the Eucharist not being treated in the most proper way. Communion in the hand is not forbidden, but the traditional way may appear advisable in that it does not carry all those additional complications.

Anyways nowadays this is such a widespread tradition - at least in the US - that there is not much point arguing about it. What I do not like is this: the Church allows us to receive on the hand in addition to the traditional way, yet often the new way is taught as the standard way. I do not understand why. I see no reason for this new way, nor for it to be adopted as the standard way. I feel that kneeling places an emphasis on humility and makes Holy Communion more solemn. I wish to learn more about this, perhaps in another thread…

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