The host fell

After I had recived my communion today I saw what happened when a lady was receiving
her communion in the tongue.The host fell I think from the priests hand and landed on the marble shelf where her elbows rested, as she was kneeling at the altar. He quickly picked
the fallen consecrated host and put her in her tongue.
Was this ok?Was it contaminated since everybody before the lady had been touching
the shelf.?What would have been a better alternative ,if any?:confused:
There must be a protocol to follow in cases like these.

Yes.
Perhaps.
The Priest could have consumed the host himself and given the woman another one. Generally, an altar server holds a paten under the communicants chin to catch the host if it falls in order to avoid this type of situation.

At our parish (and I think this is more generally true), the minister, whether Ordinary or a EMHC, generally consumes the host quietly if the Blessed Sacrament is dropped or, if it would take too much juggling to do that, holds it in the cup of his hand until he can. If the communicant indicated somehow that he or she was willing to receive it, particularly if it had already been in his or her mouth, that would be OK. The main thing is that the Blessed Sacrament be consumed. After all, if there is any of the Precious Blood left, someone has to consume what remains, even though everyone in the parish has received from that cup.

If it is not possible to consume the Blessed Sacrament after such an accident, the fragment or spill would have to be relieved of the appearance of normal bread or wine by the addition of water, which would then be treated like the moisture remaining in the sacred vessels after the purification or a stain from where the Precious Blood was transferred to a purificator. Once the accidents are lost, Once it is diluted or dried to the point that it loses its identity, the identity of the material as the Blessed Sacrament is also lost. The remains are sopped up with purificators, if that is possible. (I always think of purificators as the unbloody equivalent of St. Veronica’s veil.)

In that case, the residue that is no longer the Blessed Sacrament is cleaned as the altar linens are: usually the first rinse is given the reverence that is given holy water when it is disposed of, and everything after that is done separately from other objects. For instance,

If the cleaning cannot be done immediately, in my experience the area to be cleaned is covered in purificators, so it won’t be walked on or used normally until the area is purified.

It is an excellent idea, by the way, to make sure that altar servers know about this, and know where the extra purifcators are kept.

Its not against any rules that I’m aware of.

Was it contaminated since everybody before the lady had been touching
the shelf.?

Well, in this day of swine flu and such, perhaps the priest should have given her another host.

What would have been a better alternative ,if any?

The priest could have just given her another host and then later consumed the one that fell or dissolved it and poured it down the sacrarium.

Interesting–after five years of being Catholic, I finally saw a Host drop last week during a Mass. It happened right in front of me.

The lady was receiving on the tongue, and the Host dropped out of her mouth. She did a juggling act, caught It in her hand, and consumed It.

So in terms of dropped Hosts:
COTT = 1
CITH = 0

I’m not going to draw any conclusions from one incident. For all I know, the lady didn’t stick her tongue out far enough. But I have to admit, this incident made me doubt all the people who say that no one ever drops a Host when they receive on their tongue. People are people, and at times, we are all clumsy.

I receive on the tongue, BTW.

The first thing to say is that, if it were possible, someone should have assisted the priest with a paten or Communion-plate to ensure that no host or fragment thereof would be lost. Redemptionis Sacramentum in paragraph 93 says that the Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful should be retained. However in practice, I only remember attending Mass in one church where the paten was used (in the Ordinary Form) - that was quite a few years ago now, and I don’t know if it’s a tradition which has been maintained.

However, in terms of contamination, I don’t really think that it was a big deal. Unless she had a very weak immune system, she shouldn’t have anything to worry about. I personally think the directives for receiving Communion in the hand because of swine flu are a bit mis-guided, but if the woman did have something to worry about regarding her immune system, she probably would have been receiving in the hand. At any rate, any germs on the Communion rail which she may have picked up, she had in all likelihood caught them at some earlier stage - opening the door into the church, the holy-water font, holding onto the side of a pew to genuflect…

Good points, Cat!

I might add that this is the second case I’ve heard here of hosts being dropped when Communion was given on the tongue.

Yes, it’s called an Altar server with a paten.

With gold at $1,000 an ounce, it will probably not become more widespread in the immediate future, because of the number of parishes that don’t own long-handled patens.

There was a boy altar server with a paten assisting the priest.But sometimes it looks to me as if the servers are there holding the plate as a traditional act more than really holding the plate under the very chins of the receiving parishioners, trying to catch any crumbs that may fall.They "sort of "stay to the side and the plate hangs kind of low to serve much purpose.
I did not see what caused it because I was concentrating on just having received Jesus,I only perceived it through the corner of my eye, and I felt very sorry for the elderly priest.
The lady acted exactly as if nothing had happened.

[quote="Tamsulosin, post:10, topic:176560"]
There was a boy altar server with a paten assisting the priest.But sometimes it looks to me as if the servers are there holding the plate as a traditional act more than really holding the plate under the very chins of the receiving parishioners, trying to catch any crumbs that may fall.They "sort of "stay to the side and the plate hangs kind of low to serve much purpose.
I did not see what caused it because I was concentrating on just having received Jesus,I only perceived it through the corner of my eye, and I felt very sorry for the elderly priest.

[/quote]

Hmmm. Well, you don't want the paten to put marks on people's necks, either, but if the paten is being used in a way that serves no purpose, you might want to mention that to the person training the altar servers. Unless it is the pastor, the person is rarely at every Mass.

[quote="Tamsulosin, post:10, topic:176560"]
The lady acted exactly as if nothing had happened.

[/quote]

Perfect. Good for her!

Once while serving as an EMHC a lady (who I know quite well) fumbled the Host and dropped it to the floor. She looked at me in horror as I picked up the Host and consumed it. Later she asked me if that was the proper course of action and I explained that I could have consumed it, given it to her or had the priest consume it. She was quite happy to know that I knew what to do because she was horrified when it happened.

[quote="Cat, post:5, topic:176560"]
Interesting--after five years of being Catholic, I finally saw a Host drop last week during a Mass. It happened right in front of me.

The lady was receiving on the tongue, and the Host dropped out of her mouth. She did a juggling act, caught It in her hand, and consumed It.

So in terms of dropped Hosts:

COTT = 1
CITH = 0

I'm not going to draw any conclusions from one incident. For all I know, the lady didn't stick her tongue out far enough. But I have to admit, this incident made me doubt all the people who say that no one ever drops a Host when they receive on their tongue. People are people, and at times, we are all clumsy.

I receive on the tongue, BTW.

[/quote]

I was once receiving Communion on the tongue while kneeling from a priest who had never distributed on the tongue before. He was doing something wrong because it barely touched my tongue before falling. The server caught it with the paten and Fr. tried again, successfully this time. Before I could even stand up the same thing happened with the person who had been kneeling next to me. I went back to my pew and witnessed it happen to 3 people in a row before I stopped paying attention.

By the next Sunday Father was an expert at distributing Communion on the tongue. And I am still impressed by the altar server who didn't let a single host hit the ground.

James

[quote="Br.Rich_SFO, post:8, topic:176560"]
Yes, it's called an Altar server with a paten.

[/quote]

Very, very true!

[quote="EasterJoy, post:9, topic:176560"]
With gold at $1,000 an ounce, it will probably not become more widespread in the immediate future, because of the number of parishes that don't own long-handled patens.

[/quote]

Yes, but was gold at $1000 an ounce nearly 40 years ago when these parishes should have already had them.

**The following are also to be prepared: ... communion plate for the communion of the faithful; the requisites for the washing of hands.

1975 General Instruction of the Roman Missal 80**

And was it $1000 an ounce in 2002-2003 when the Church gave us the following:

**
The following are also to be prepared: ... the Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful; and whatever is needed for the washing of hands. ** **

General Instruction of the Roman Missal 118[

]("http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/current/chapter4.shtml#sect1")The Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful should be retained, so as to avoid the danger of the sacred host or some fragment of it falling.**

**Redemptionis Sacramentum 93

**

[quote="James0235, post:14, topic:176560"]
Yes, but was gold at $1000 an ounce nearly 40 years ago when these parishes should have already had them.

[/quote]

Mind you, you're kind of preaching to the choir, because I think there are places for the alabaster jar to be broken, and that this is one of them. Looking at the churches built in the last 50-60 years, though, it becomes clear that the concept of the alabaster jar with regards to church furnishings has been overruled by Judas' objection.

Having said that, even $300 is still pretty steep, and altar societies can manufacture neither alabaster nor gold out of thin air. Some of them do all they can to manage what they already do.

A paten doesn't have to be all gold; it just has to be gold- or silver-plated. The handle could probably be of another material, as long as you're fairly sure the Host won't be touching the handle regularly....

[quote="Br.Rich_SFO, post:8, topic:176560"]
Yes, it's called an Altar server with a paten.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

I have had this experience, the priest dropped the Host as he was trying to put it on my tongue and it ended up getting caught in his vestments. We found it and I consumed it.

Accidents happen. The Lord does not punish us for honest mistakes and accidents. Carelessness, on the other hand, is something we are culpable for. In my case, I do not believe carelessness was involved.

I saw an EMHC drop a host on the church floor without realising. An other EMHC picked it up and handed it back to him and as I was next in line he gave it to me on the tongue.
I had no problem with this, but it set me wondering about an obviously contaminated host and it could be contaminated by any obvious means. What is the procedure for handling such a host. Is it to be consumed by someone or can it be burned or consumed in some other way?
Gerry

[quote="EasterJoy, post:3, topic:176560"]
At our parish (and I think this is more generally true), the minister, whether Ordinary or a EMHC, generally consumes the host quietly if the Blessed Sacrament is dropped or, if it would take too much juggling to do that, holds it in the cup of his hand until he can. If the communicant indicated somehow that he or she was willing to receive it, particularly if it had already been in his or her mouth, that would be OK. The main thing is that the Blessed Sacrament be consumed. After all, if there is any of the Precious Blood left, someone has to consume what remains, even though everyone in the parish has received from that cup.

If it is not possible to consume the Blessed Sacrament after such an accident, the fragment or spill would have to be relieved of the appearance of normal bread or wine by the addition of water, which would then be treated like the moisture remaining in the sacred vessels after the purification or a stain from where the Precious Blood was transferred to a purificator. Once the accidents are lost, Once it is diluted or dried to the point that it loses its identity, the identity of the material as the Blessed Sacrament is also lost. The remains are sopped up with purificators, if that is possible. (I always think of purificators as the unbloody equivalent of St. Veronica's veil.)

In that case, the residue that is no longer the Blessed Sacrament is cleaned as the altar linens are: usually the first rinse is given the reverence that is given holy water when it is disposed of, and everything after that is done separately from other objects. For instance,

If the cleaning cannot be done immediately, in my experience the area to be cleaned is covered in purificators, so it won't be walked on or used normally until the area is purified.

It is an excellent idea, by the way, to make sure that altar servers know about this, and know where the extra purifcators are kept.

[/quote]

This is a complete and accurate answer.

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