Question about communion host...

First off…I DO hope I am placing this question in the right thread. If not…um, I can re-post it elsewhere, I suppose…

OK. Here’s the sich, and the question…a question, mind, that was put to the apologists…hope I have that right. ANYway…I received no answer. I’d guess they have a boatload of questions to answer, anyhow.

A nurse I work with who is a PT employee also works at another hospital, a well known city hospital with a top-notch rep, I might add…well, she sees me looking at this forum on my I Phone one night in ICU when we have some down time…well, she’s RC, and she was looking at some of the threads.

She then asked me to post this question to the apologists:

She had a patient who was on a ventilator-(a machine that breaths for you when you cannot, various reasons), The patient was unresponsive…unbeknown to the priest who was giving the patient holy communion. I’d gather to say the family requested this?

(first mistake…said priest needed to communicate the wishes of the patient receiving communion with nursing/respiratory staff…)

Anyway, she and another nurse were doing oral care, and what do they find? A few days worth of undissolved hosts on the patient’s tongue/roof of thier mouth. Well, they were both RC, and neither knew what to do, as any solution would be an affront to God…seeing as they believed that was Jesus…so, what to do? They flushed it in the toilet. They didn’t know what else to do.
Her question is…what DO you do? What’s proper?

It would have been proper to collect the Eucharist, dissolve them in water in a container and given it to the priest for disposal in the church sacramarium.

The next best thing would have been to dissolve the Eucharist and pour them to ground or a body of water.

Never dispose of the Eucharist down a drain!

Oh, ok.
The second most likely would be more practical, as this nurse works nights and the hospital is not a Catholic hospital…I’d gather she wouldn’t know when she’d see a priest…unless she took it to her parish, I suppose?

Now when you say “to ground” you mean dirt/grass outdoors? Yes?

Hey, thanks a lot for your answer! I will tell my nurse friend, and I may very well run across this, and granted, it wouldn’t mean much to me, I’m not Catholic, but I never would want to disrespect someone’s religious beliefs…

This is correct.

In a garden or some similar place where people don’t walk.

It would probably be good for both nurses to relate the event to their confessors or spiritual directors. I do not think they are necessarily guilty of sin (it sounds like they acted out of ignorance). However, it should be beneficial for their formation.

At the Catholic hospital here, our chaplin is a civilian clothed nun and either she or other other civilian clothed nuns distribute the Eucharist to Catholic patients.

Giving the Eucharist to a nonresponsive person. :o

I’m a revert, but if I recall correctly there should be knowlegeable consent of the will for a Eucharistic minister to give a person the Eucharist.

To add, if poured to the ground, it should not be a ground that can normally be walked on. So a flower bed is ideal. Best that you let a priest handle this.

From what I know it can be given to people who are barely or not even concious, but able to ingest it. This is called the Viaticum.

I’m wondering if a whole host is placed, because a small piece is as good as a large one. Jesus is wholly present anyway.

Yep, when the hospital I worked at was Catholic (it changed hands recently) there was a chaplain…think she was a nun in civvies…and she ALWAYS asked me, a nurse, or another therapist if a person could receive communion. DK what the deal was with the other hospital.

This was a story told to me, I was not there, don’t work at the hospital where it happened. It’s not Catholic, I DO know that…

As to the nurse…and the other health care worker…they meant no disrespect…really. They were at a loss. They*** really*** didn’t know what to do.

The fact that the nurse asked me to find out would make me think she took the matter seriously enough, you think?
So, I should tell her that she needs to…what? tell her priest? confess? I dk what you mean…

I would mention it in the confessional. She has obviously been thinking about it.

I’m impressed that the nurse had the sense to at least ask the question. At our local Catholic hospital, you can’t hardly find a trace of anything Catholic, including a priest. I’ve even called the Rectory with no results.

When my mother was in dying, the only cleric that could be found was the local evangelical pastor.

Me too, corsair. I am impressed that the nurse was concerned. The most vivid example I have ever seen of faith in the Blessed Sacrament was similar, although I wouldn’t expect a nurse to do this. It was an inner city parish where sometimes people came in, who may or may not be Catholic. They don’t necessarily understand what’s going on. So the priest stops distributing communion when a nun points out to the priest that one of the communicants had not consumed the Host, but put it in his pocket. The good priest stopped, approached the young man, and insisted that he consume the Host which he had received in the hand. The young man explained that he wanted to take it to his little baby that was sick. The priest was persistent. Of course he didn’t have time for a discourse on why the Blessed Sacrament was not meant for his sick baby. So the young man finally puts the Host in his mouth. After Father turned away, he angrily spat the Host on the floor, while Father continued distributing Holy Communion.

Those of us who saw were shocked I am sure. Being a new convert, I wondered what Father would do. After Mass was completely over he went over, knelt down on the floor, and ate the Fragments himself. Of course the Host had not been in someone else’s mouth for days. I don’t think Father was obligated to do this. But it was instructive to this new convert of the unfeigned faith of a Catholic priest in his authority to verily consecrate ordinary bread into the literal Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the same Lord Jesus Christ who was born of the Blessed Virgin, raised on the Cross, and resurrected from the dead for our sins.

Thank God for faithful priests and teachable nurses!


Aren’t if it’s dissolved into water and poured into the ground, shouldn’t it be holy ground?

You mean ship it off to Jerusalem? :smiley:

No, any ground should be good. Preferably ground thats not being regularly walked upon.

Yep, and then that ground becomes holy. ;):smiley:

I would think such a person in a hospital would receive a drop of wine on their lips or tongue rather than a portion of a host, in order to keep this problem from happening. Perhaps whoever administered the Sacrament was unaware that this particular patient isn’t able to get all the little fragments down?

Or better still, the Precious Blood of our Lord.

How do they transport the Precious Blood? I haven’t seen it and isn’t it forbidden to reserve the Precious Blood?

No, it is not. It is allowed to be transported if there is no danger of spillage, and is usually administered by a dropper.

I really am trying to find the document which talks about this for you, but I’m not having much luck. I’ve seen it before, and I’ll keep looking.

And of course, I find it two minutes later…

  1. The Precious Blood may not be reserved, except for giving Communion to someone who is sick. Only sick people who are unable to receive Communion under the form of bread may receive it under the form of wine alone at the discretion of the priest. If not consecrated at a Mass in the presence of the sick person, the Blood of the Lord is kept in a properly covered vessel and is placed in the tabernacle after Communion. The Precious Blood should be carried to the sick in a vessel that is closed in such a way as to eliminate all danger of spilling. If some of the Precious Blood remains after the sick person has received Communion, it should be consumed by the minister, who should also see to it that the vessel is properly purified.


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