Probably a stupid question for priests

What would happen if you ran out of the Body and Blood of Christ halfway through Communion?

I understand that, if you ran out of either one Species, simply receiving the other would suffice, as both the Body and the Blood are the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ.

But what if you ran out of both? Would you simply consecrate another batch?

(I am not a priest.)

I’d personally avoid using language like “batch” when referring to the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Eucharist is consecrated first and foremost to offer to God the Father immediately: all the Eucharistic Prayers make this clear. It is only by God’s benevolent providence that the Eucharistic sacrifice is also made available to us as food.

I think if I were a priest in that position, I would simply make an announcement after Communion (when it is proper) that attendance of Mass (and fulfillment of our obligation to attend) is not tied to participation in Communion. I would then lead the entire congregation – but specifically those who were not able to receive Holy Communion – in an act of Spiritual Communion.

Unconsecrated hosts are not the Blessed Sacrament. You consecrated unconsecrated hosts, not consecrated ones. So I wasn’t referring to the BS as a “batch”

We do not have to receive Holy Communion at each Mass we attend. If the priest ran out of the Blessed Sacrament, then people simply wouldn’t receive at that Mass. The idea of leading the congregation in a prayer of spiritual communion after Mass was over is great.

Hopefully a priest will answer, or perhaps someone who experienced this. I do think that the ‘art’ of estimating how many additional hosts to consecrate is something that priests are well trained in and I would assume that priests who have become pastors are well-versed in this art.

One cooks “a batch of cookies”, even though the dough is not a cookie until it has been cooked. I don’t mean to mince words with you, I just wouldn’t the term the way you did.

I have seen the pastor at my church watching the Communion lines and, if he thinks he is not going to have enough Hosts, he starts breaking them in half. As far as I know, he’s never run out.

A couple of times when the church has been really full, I have seen my priest leave the communinon line and go to the tabernacle to get more consecrated hosts. I assume there is a supply of consecrated hosts in the tabernacle kept for such a purpose, at least in our parish.

No, usually any consecrated Hosts that are in the tabernacle are brought to the altar at the time they are getting ready to distribute Holy Communion. If he goes back to the tabernacle after running out of Hosts, he may be getting the Hosts from the homebound ciborium (if it was at a time during the week or after the EMHC have already made their rounds on Sunday morning.

Ah OK thanks for the correction.

I have seen this happen a few times, too. It is not something that they want to happen but when running very low they have broken the Host so that everyone could receive. It doesn’t happen often. The object is for the priest to consecrate enough Hosts for everyone to receive and not to have a lot remaining to put in the tabernacle. I have never seen it happen when there was only enough Hosts for half of the people.

Correct. Most of the time, a parish will keep about the quantity for one average Sunday Mass in the tabernacle.

I figured that would be the case.

But again, what if, by some strange chance, the sacristan forgot to leave the hosts out to be consecrated and the priest did not consecrate extra, resulting in an almost empty Tabernacle?

Well, if there simply is not a sufficient quantity for everyone to receive (even after breaking some in half if necessary), then the simple reality is that some people will not be able to receive Communion at that Mass. I’m not trying to dismiss this as “oh well, it happens…” but only trying to answer the question. It’s not possible for the priest to consecrate more hosts during Communion-time; since that was your original question. Actually, it is strictly-speaking “possible” but it is a very, very serious abuse and it’s absolutely forbidden.

That’s interesting! Why is it a serious abuse?

That is news to me. The number of Hosts needed for an average Sunday Mass is about 350. That is quite a lot of consecrated Hosts to be kept in the tabernacle.

I’m trying to find a good way to phrase this… I’ve been working on that for a while, and can’t come up with any better way than to say that to consecrate the Eucharist in anything other than the proper context of the complete Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (ie not only during the Mass, but at the proper time during the Mass) has too much the “feel” of a “magic trick”–that is, simply saying the words and making the Eucharist “happen.”

It’s also important to keep in mind that it is the priest’s responsibility to make sure that there are enough hosts for Communion, whether these are consecrated at that Mass or from the tabernacle. The job of doing so might be delegated to someone else, but the responsibility lies with the priest celebrating. A simple mistake might happen every so often where the priest runs “a little short” and might have to break a few in half, but having nowhere near enough consecrated Hosts is extremely rare. In other words, that’s a long way of saying that priests put a lot more effort than people might realize into making sure before Mass that there will indeed be enough consecrated Hosts at Communion. People might not “see” this happening, but we do.

But what if you ran out of both? Would you simply consecrate another batch?


**The Russian Orthodox Liturgikon (used by Russian Catholics) has provisions for a second consecration.

Basically, the Priest procures how much more matter is needed and says the appropriate parts of the Anaphora relating to the Body, Blood, or both.**

NO. Didn’t you read what Fr. David wrote?

First of all, most parishes do not provide the Blood of Christ to the congregation - it’s just not necessary. I have seen the Blood run out, many times - particularly when it is given on a Sunday. It’s far too difficult to determine the volume needed - how many will receive, how much will each take (some receive with a small sip, others take a mouth-full). In the case of the Host, this can be broken in half, and, if necessary, in quarters, since we receive the whole of Jesus in any piece big enough to be recognized as a part of the Host.

We are talking here about the Latin Rite, and it is forbidden to consecrate more.

Apparently it is not a good practice to keep that many Hosts reserved in the tabernacle. See the GIRM # 85. See also Redemptionis Sacramentum #129.

One of those extremely rare situations occurred at our parish at a Mass when an unusually large number of people attended. (It may have been a Confirmation Mass with the bishop present, I can’t quite remember.)

When all the ministers of Holy Communion started running out, our permanent deacon went to the credence table and started to bring over a vessel of unconsecrated hosts to distribute! Our alert sacristan had to stop him, and she even had to work at convincing him. You would think a deacon would know the difference between consecrated and unconsecrated hosts.

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