The Body of Christ down the drain

I was curious on how the dishes which hold the Eucharist are cleaned. I mean if they are cleaned under a faucet then wouldn’t the Body of Christ on some infinitesimal, atomic, or even subatomic level be washed down the drain? There is bound to be microscopic remnants of the Eucharist rubbing off onto people’s finger tips, hands, and lips. These remnants, during the course of our every day lives, could possibly be washed down the drain via sink or shower. Or perhaps these remnants find their way to a kitchen floor or the wheel of a car, or maybe even in the garbage! Would these particles still be considered the Body of Christ and if so, are they being defiled on some level?

I believe the teaching of the Church is that the Real Presence no longer is there if a particle no longer has the appearance of bread. This would certainly apply to your concern with bits too small to be seen by the naked eye.

They are washed in a special sink called a “sacrarium.” A sacrarium is not attached to the sewer system- instead, it goes straight into the good earth, without touching anything unclean.

Nothing else is allowed to be washed or placed into the sacrarium.

If done properly the vessels used to hold the Eucharist are washed out in a sink in which the drain goes straight to the ground. This sink is in the Sacristy and is used solely for this purpose. Nothing else is placed in this sink or rinsed down that particular drain. This way the host, or any remnant of it is washed into the earth, but not to the sewer system.


Apparently the city government refused to allow a sacrarium in my parish. They wash things in a special sink and pour the water in the garden (I think).

This is correct. Ours drains into a St. Francis water fountain, that overflows or drains into the woods. The bread can be dissolved in wine and go down the sacrarium if the need arises as well.

The rubrics actually call for a purification step first before washing the chalice or ciborium in the sacrarium. First the priest or deacon drinks any remaining precious blood, then adds water to the chalice and rinses and drinks THAT. Then the chalice is wiped off with the purificator (essentially sacred washcloth) and THEN it can be washed in the sacrarium (that drains only to a soil bed under the church, not a sewer.).

As you can see, this issue has been rather thoroughly thought through! It is not, however, foolproof. You do hear about horror stories of uninformed EMHCs dumping the precious blood down the sacrarium drain. :frowning:

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