How do the small hosts become the body of Christ during epiclesis?

Dear Apologists,

During the Eucharistic prayer (epiclesis) the priest elevates a host and it becomes the body of Christ by transubstantiation. But the small hosts in the Ciborium also become the body of Christ, although the priest does not hold them up while saying “this is my body”. In Luke Jesus spoke the blessing, and then broke the bread and gave it to the disciples, so all of the pieces were blessed. I know all the small hosts are blessed too and are the body of Christ, but how exactly does this occur? The priest only elevates one (big) host.
Does this happen during the prayer when he says “Make holy, therefore, these gifts …” and such it affects all hosts on the altar?

Thank you and God bless,


I think you are a little confused about terms. The epiclesis is only one part of the Eucharistic Prayer. The epiclesis is the part of the Eucharistic Prayer during which the celebrant prays that God may send down His Holy Spirit to change this bread and wine into the Body and Blood of His Son. During the epiclesis the celebrant extends his hands over the bread and wine.

As the Catechism notes:

1353 In the epiclesis, the Church asks the Father to send his Holy Spirit (or the power of his blessing) on the bread and wine, so that by his power they may become the body and blood of Jesus Christ and so that those who take part in the Eucharist may be one body and one spirit (some liturgical traditions put the epiclesis after the anamnesis).

The transformation of the bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus begins at the epiclesis and concludes with the words of consecration over the hosts and chalice (Catechism #1333). It is not the elevation of the host and chalice that consecrates them, rather it is the words and intention of the Eucharistic Prayer.

Yes the priest only holds up a main large host after the consecration but all hosts and chalices on the corporal all considered consecrated. The corporal is a square white cloth upon which all ciborium and chalices that are intended to be consecrated are placed.

So, it is through the prayer that all the hosts and wine on the corporal become the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus.

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