Have I mistakenly broken church law?


I intend to speak to my PP about this tomorrow, but wonder if you guys can put me right beforehand:
Last Sunday, our PP was on vacation. I was the rostered EM at evening Mass. Just before the start of Mass I was made aware that there was a young girl in the congregation who had just made her first Holy Communion and has Coeliac Disease. Her host was on the altar in a separate pyx. I was asked if I could give her communion first, before the rest of the congregation, making sure that I did not touch any other hosts beforehand. I sped round to the sacristy, to speak to the locum priest, whose english wasn’t good, and tried to explain the situation. I decided to take COTT from the priest, which would make sure my hands had not come into contact with any other hosts, then give the little girl her host from the pyx. All good so far!. When it came time to give said girl communion I discovered that due to me having only half an index finger (another story) I wouldn’t be able to remove her host from the pyx. I therefore told the girl to take the host from the pyx, which she did and the rest of communion went as normal. After Mass the mother of the little girl thanked me for allowing her daughter to take the host from the pyx saying that this was her preferred option but that the PP had told her that this was not allowed under church law. So the question is - what have I done wrong


Well, what you (unwittingly) did wrong was to allow the girl to ‘take’ the host from the pyx herself instead of you handing it to her. This is called ‘self-communicating’ and it is indeed forbidden. (just as an aside, could you not have removed the host from the pyx with your other hand?)

All persons receiving communion must receive the Body, or the Blood, from the hands of the proper minister, either ordinary (priest/deacon) or extraordinary (someone like you), and NEVER take the Body or Blood ‘directly’.

I know it probably SEEMS to the mother as though those who have communion in the hand are ‘taking it’ for themselves, and that her daughter in receiving from the pyx is somehow not getting a, forgive the expression, ‘hands on’ experience, but in fact, all who receive receive from a minister, and not directly, which is as it should be.


I don’t know why you would talk to Planned Parenthood about this and I don’t know why you were taking Cott soda from the priest but obviously this was an extraordinary circumstance. You didn’t commit a mortal sin or even a venial one. Next time, just figure out a way for Communion to be administered.

“It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves” GIRM 160.


The use of “PP” in this thread is for “Parish Priest”. I used to work in OB in we used the initials “PP” for postpartum, so the initials have more uses than just Planned Parenthood. Also, COTT means communion on the tongue is this regard.


I’m sorry but I have to say to your little joke you made, really???


For low-gluten hosts in a pix, I've seen priest just take the pix and turn it over the in the person's hand (so the host falls out of the pix and into their hand).


I am missing something somewhere. What is so terrible about a Eucharistic Minister (Extraordinary or otherwise) touching a normal host with the same hand that touched a low-gluten host?


I think the concern about touching the low-gluten host was with a hand that had previously touched hosts that contain gluten (thus potentially transferring gluten to the host of the young girl with celiac).


If he touched a regular host before touching the special one, there could have been a possibility of transferring particles to the special host. That would be dangerous for the young girl.


Assuming this for real, PP=Parish Priest, and COTT = communion on the tongue. Local acronyms. Hope that clarifies it.


[quote="agnes_therese, post:9, topic:327609"]
If he touched a regular host before touching the special one, there could have been a possibility of transferring particles to the special host. That would be dangerous for the young girl.


Ah. Got it :thumbsup:


Cross-contamination. Some people’s allergy is so severe that transfer on the hands can potentially kill them.


Don’t forget that “Eucharistic Ministers” need to always be referred to as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. :thumbsup:


154.] As has already been recalled, “the only minister who can confect the Sacrament of the Eucharist in persona Christi is a validly ordained Priest”.[254] Hence the name “minister of the Eucharist” belongs properly to the Priest alone.

[156.] This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and not “special minister of Holy Communion” nor “extraordinary minister of the Eucharist” nor “special minister of the Eucharist”, by which names the meaning of this function is unnecessarily and improperly broadened.



Thanks everyone - I thought afterwards that this was the case ( self commuinion). As I said originaly this situation was laid at my door about two minutes before Mass began. The child’s mother seemed to be very worried about cross-contamination and the priest saying Mass was a missionary priest whose english wasn’t great (and his understanding of the scottish accent made it even worse to explain to him). So Paddy-boy here was left with a situation that was worrying him all through Mass. When I went onto the Altar and saw the pyx (for the first time) I realised that big fingers (minus 1/2 on the right hand) and small pyx was going to make an already difficult situation even more difficult. (To the poster who asked if I couln’t lift the host with my other hand all I can say is ‘I would give my right hand to be ambidexterous’). This was the first time I had come up against this situation but I’ll be better prepared for it in future as I’m sure the little girl will be back to evening Mass regularly as her mother said she and her fmily had really enjoyed the Mass setting. (Youth Group play - 1 guitar, 2 flutes, 1 violin, 2 singers all done very well - mainly traditional)
Thanks again


Allowing a person to take the host out of a pyx would be allowing them to self-communicate, as others have noted. It seems that you might have overturned the pyx in your hand, allowing the host to fall into your hand. I’m assuming that the pyx with unconsecrated low-gluten host was placed on the altar for consecration at that Mass? If so, why not use a paten instead of a pyx (put the unconsecrated host on a flat paten)? It is much easier for you to pick up the host off the paten than trying to extract it from a pyx–some pyxes are a very tight fit indeed.


I second this suggestion, for the next time this happens.

Meanwhile, don’t beat yourself up - these things happen. Now you know for next time. :thumbsup:


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