I was at daily Mass yesterday and the priest and deacon both ate extra Eucharists after everyone went up for communion. I had seen them do this before, but I was just wondering if anyone knew if there is a rule behind this or if they were just trying to make it easier for all of the Eucharists to fit into one ciborium.
Why were the remaining consecrated hosts not returned to the Tabernacle?
I’ve seen this most often in scenarios where Mass takes place in a temporary location with no tabernacle (e.g. a camping trip, a hotel conference room, etc.). I do not know what particular rubrics govern the when and the why, but I would presume the priest knows. When Communion is offered under both species, this is always done with the Precious Blood because the Precious Blood is not preserved.
I assume, seems like it has to be the case, that it falls under the same rule as consuming the Precious Blood that is left over. What is not needed to be reserved or cannot be practically reserved for future use (which would be all of the Blood) should be consumed after communion.
I am sure what they were doing was proper.
It is likely that they had too many reserved already. Priests have to carefully manage the amount of hosts reserved at any given time by consecrating a few too many sometimes and a few too few at others. I have heard it said that hosts should never be allowed to go “stale” in the tabernacle.
Did you ask them?
Yes, at some point they do lose their substance, if you will. It’s a matter of debate as to how long this can be, but they don’t want to “mix and match” them. Good management is the key.
According to the OP, this has happened before. Maybe there is a question of mangement. I have personally never seen this happen.
Now that I think of it, I do recall a parish I sometimes attended that would regularly do this at daily Mass. People would put hosts in the ciborium as they walked in the back of the Church, but there were always people who put in a few extra to cover those who came late or forgot to put one in. So there were generally a few extra that the priest would generally consume after Communion was distributed. I can understand that. Adding a few extra consecrated hosts to the ciborium every day is going to make it much more difficult to gauge how old the hosts in the tabernacle are.
That’s just me speculating, though.
The OP didn’t say if this was in a regular parish church or chapel or some other location. I have been to Newman Centers, for example, where one chapel is shared by multiple groups and there is no tabernacle. The hosts are not reserved in a place like that but would either be consumed or transported to another location. I wonder, too, if the number of remaining hosts is small if they might consider it preferable to consume them at Mass rather than add them to the ciborium.
Very interesting to know that there are Churches where the Parishioners place hosts in the Ciborum before Mass for consecration at Mass. I’ve only known of the Priest, Deacon or Sacristan doing such. Thank you for the enlightenment.
Exactly. And that brings up an interesting point. How do we (or anyone else, for that matter) know if those hosts are still valid, if we’re given them?
Just to clarify (so no one misunderstands me) this wasn’t done during Mass but before Mass. Most parishes have a table in the back for the bread and wine to be placed on until they are brought forward during the offertory. At this parish, they’d have a small basket of unconsecrated hosts next to the ciborium. As people walked in, they would take a host from the basket and place it in the ciborium so that there would be the right amount for use at that Mass.
I’m not sure if that’s kosher or not. I guess I never really thought about it. It doesn’t seem like something that would be regulated by the rubrics.
You can tell if they still have the appearance of bread or not. It would be apparent if something had happened to change that. If they’re merely stale it’s not a problem of validity but they might not taste good.
The Church’s preference, of course, is for the faithful to receive hosts that were consecrated at the Mass they are attending. See the GIRM and Redemptonis Sacramentum.
I’ve been to a few parishes that do this. There should be no problem as these are unconsecrated hosts.
Doesn’t sound hygienic
Yes, this was sort of my point. Why more effort is not done to do this is a little baffling to me.
Indeed! Although, it is probably about as hygienic as everyone dipping their fingers into the same small bowl of water as they enter and leave.
I don’t know. There’s one parish I visit fairly often and the only host from that particular Mass that is consumed is the priest’s. It’s weird – I have NEVER seen the priest consecrate extra hosts, yet there are always hosts in the tabernacle that they bring out for communion. I’ve been there both for daily and Sunday Masses and somehow the ciborium is always full. It must be like the miracle of the loaves!
It must be indeed a miracle. I always felt that it was miraculous enough that there were more communicants than attendees at Mass.