I’m not sure if this is the right place to ask this, but here goes. Every Sunday at Mass, I see the priest say the words of institution over a piece of bread and a chalice of wine - turning these hosts into the body and blood of Christ. Then, I see a wholely seperate container of bread and wholely seperate chalices brought out of the tabernacle to be handed out to the faithful. Are these hosts previously blessed with the words of institution? If so, when? Is there a whole seperate Mass? Are they “left-overs”? Or do the words said over the priest’s hosts count for these others? I’ve had this question for a while, but always just assumed it was a really dumb question. But, I also don’t want to have it come up in a conversation with one of my protestant friends and have me have to say “I don’t know.”

Thank you for your help.


Brothers & Sisters

In the Tabernacle are the already consecrated host (ie the Most Blessed Sacrament or Holy Eucharist). These are indeed from a previous Mass. The presence of Holy Eucharist is what truly makes a church a church. When we enter the church it is to the Eucharist (Jesus) in the Tabernacle that we kneel.


Those hosts are left over from a previous Mass. In the Bible a tabernacle is like a “tent” that the people would live in during the Exodus. The Feast of Tabernacles recalls the exodus.

The name has been applied to the box you see because it houses the Lord in the Eucharist. This should be indicated with a red candle. (Though some churches use red lights due to fire code restrictions)


There are no Chalices brought out of the tabernacle. There are ciboriums that my look like chalices but with lids. A Chalice does not have a lid. In these ciboriums are Hosts that were consecrted at a prior Mass and not needed. Technically they should not be brought out of the tabernacle unless they are actually needed.


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