Use of reserved Hosts


parish after parish finds the same practice wherever I go

  1. It is most desirable that the faithful, just as the Priest himself is bound to do, receive the Lord’s Body from hosts consecrated at the same Mass and that, in the cases where this is foreseen, they partake of the chalice (cf. no. 283), so that even by means of the signs Communion may stand out more clearly as a participation in the sacrifice actually being celebrated.[72]

…after Transubstantiation either Father or Deacon or Eucharistic Minister-Person will walk to the tabernacle and bring additional ‘reserved Hosts’ to the table and mixed with those Hosts already transformed under the priest’s hands…

these are a few of the replies I get when I attempt to discuss the practice:
“…the reserved Hosts have been transubstantiated at a previous Mass…”
" you’ll have to trust us…" (to assure that UNtransubstantiated Hosts were not accidentally introduced)
" we never quite know how many people are going to be present at any given Mass…"

logic informs (most people at least)
why not bring all the intended specie to the table at one time
head counts at churches are a practice going back 2000 years-this never happened when I was a kid
the instructions of the General Instructions are clear

and, don’t get me started on the subject of Eucharistic Ministers deciding for themselves to go get More from the tabernacle…which I have seen all too often…

…some purists argue that introducing unsubstantiated Hosts into a Mass whether by intent or by accident invalidates the entire Sacrifice and I must agree…the sad part of all this to me is that no one seems to even recognize the possibility this could happen…

okay, that’s my rant
Jim Maloney/Charlotte NC


If the Hosts are in a the tabernacle, they have already been consecrated. Therefore, they are no different than Hosts that may be directly in front of the priest on the altar.


There is a difference between “it is most desirable” and “it is commanded.” Out of all of the possible things to be offended by, is this really something to get upset about? Catholic churches have always had reserved hosts in the tabernacle. What do you think happened to those hosts in the past?

Do you really think that your pastor is so careless as to mix in blank hosts with the consecrated ones?




OP.I don’t understand. You haven’t explained how exactly non-consecrated Hosts would get mixed up with the consecrated ones.


Exactly. Where possible, the priest should give people hosts consecrated at that Mass. But what if the hosts run out (as they did at one mass at a retreat run by the Norbertines)? Even were you to do a head count, there often are not enough. The priest, then, uses hosts consecrated at the previous Mass.

Also, usually priests make sure to keep non-consecrated hosts and consecrated ones separate. Unconsecrated hosts do NOT, at least to my knowledge, ever go into a tabernacle. That makes it rather easy to distinguish.


you just proved my point,if there is no difference then why perform the Liturgy and the Act of Transubstantiation…just bring out ‘reserved Hosts’ and distribute them…do you see how steep becomes the slope…


Because then it would just be Holy Communion and not Mass


The intent of the reserved Hosts is to be available to be taken to the sick and homebound. Most parishes I know of also distribute them at Communion time; at some Masses too many are consecrated and at some Masses too few. The reserve Hosts allow everyone at Mass to be able to receive, granted the ideal is to use the Hosts consecrated at the same Mass but in the real world it usually will not work out that way. It would be very difficult for unconsecrated hosts find their way into the tabernacle so I don’t see that as a major problem. I see the bigger problem being a general lack of respect regarding the Blessed Sacrament. It is the responsibility of each of us to always show the deepest reverence in this matter. There is a real need for education and we should be always be willing and able to in charity supply that education.


thanks everyone for your replies and comments…just one question I have often wondered at but never actually put it in the form of a question: can a Host be "re-transubstantiated’ at additional Masses so all the specie intended for use at a Mass be present on the table at “the moment?”


No. First, it would be impossible to do. The consecrated host truly is Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. The smallest crumb, the tiniest fragment is as completely Jesus are the large host in the monstrance in the chapel. How can you “reconsecrate” or “retransubstantiate” it? You can’t make it more Jesus. He doesn’t leave once the host is in the Tabernacle. (That’s the whole point of the Tabernacle light, to let everyone know Jesus is “home”.) As a sacristan, I can’t imagine walking into church, approaching the Tabernacle and not being able to say, “good morning” Unless, of course, it’s Good Friday. :smiley:


Amen! Jesus commanded us to ‘do this’ - meaning celebrate the Sunday Eucharist, not merely receive Holy Communion.

Otherwise there would be no purpose in anyone attending Sunday Mass who had, for example, broken the fast and so was unable to receive Communion.

And I don’t see that adding reserved consecrated (at a previous Mass) Hosts to those consecrated at the Mass you are attending in any way makes it more likely that unconsecrated wafers are going to be mixed in. Nothing that is unconsecrated is in any way more likely to be in the Tabernacle as on the altar.


If one sees something they have issues with or don’t understand, the best person to go to is the priest. If there is not enough consecrated hosts for a Mass, it is perfectly acceptable to use the reserve hosts from the tabernacle and sometimes they are brought out just in case. Just because one can read GIRM or other Church documents doesn’t mean one is qualified to think that they are experts in all of this. Sometimes it is hard for the sacristan in preparation for Mass to always judge or know how many people might show up. Sometimes, there are suprises. Instead of judging something from a distance, why don’t you involve yourself in being a Sacristan and learn about the prepartion for Mass for a better understanding.


Regarding EMHC retrieving and reposing eucharist. This is not allowed,GIRM 163 STATES THIS IS THE PRIEST OR DEACONS RESPONSIBILITY.VERY ABUSED PRACTICE TODAY.


Many churches (particularly rural ones) have a practice of leaving unconsecrated altar breads at the back of the church, together with a small pair of tongs, next to the ciborium or large paten (these are the vessels that hold altar breads and consecrated hosts). When people enter the church for Mass, they will place as many altar breads in the ciborium/large paten as there are people in their group who will go to Communion.

There is ONE instance in which we MUST use reserved hosts, and that is on Good Friday. At the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the priest must consecrate as many hosts as will be needed for that Mass AND the Good Friday Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, as he may not consecrate hosts again until the Easter Vigil Mass (the Good Friday celebration is actually a service, NOT a Mass). At the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the priest transfers the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose, where Our Lord will remain until Easter Vigil. A hymn is sung during the transfer (typically Pange Lingua Gloriosi (Sing My Tongue the Saviour’s Glory) in either English or its traditional Latin). After that, all depart in silence, and many parishes will have Eucharistic Adoration (of the Blessed Sacrament at the Altar of Repose) after Mass.


I there were only one Mass a weekend or for a particular time period then you would be correct in your “rant”, but this is not the case in most parishes. The fact is that most parishes are celebrating multiple Masses for the Sunday and also daily Masses, which means this is an ongoing process and not a single event. Therefore, the number of previously consecrated hosts held in the tabernacle varies from day to day.

With that said, a parish must keep enough consecrated hosts to supply the need for communion to the sick and possibly communion services if a priest is not available. Therefore, there is often reason to use the hosts from the tabernacle in order to reduce the amount reserved, or to rotate the reserved Eucharist. Remember the accidents remain, it will stale and possibly mold in time; this is called becoming “corrupt”.

The reason you see this practice taking place in every parish you go to is the same, because it is necessary. As the GIRM points out, it is “most desirable”. But the amount of reserved Eucharist must be maintained at the proper level and freshness. How else is this done if not in the context of the Mass? Maybe a Communion consumption fest after Mass if there is too much? Or how about a multiplied “fraction rite” in the communion line when we are about to run out? No, this makes no sense. The Church has decided to make these options available to a pastor to use common sense in maintaining the proper level.

If it were as easy as counting people to consecrate the right amount for each Mass, I would be in agreement with you; but that would be far from the truth.

PS. In one of your later posts, you question unconsecrated hosts mixed with consecrated, I’m not sure why but you bring this into the conversation. First off, if you cannot trust the priests or deacons to be more faithful than to make this completely grave abuse happen then I think you have bigger problems than being bothered by using the Eucharist from the tabernacle. Your priests are not mixing bread with the Body of Christ. If they bring from the tabernacle the reserved hosts, then they are bringing the Body of Christ to be mixed with the Body of Christ.

PSS. No, the previously consecrated hosts, cannot be re-consecrated. To bring to the altar the reserved hosts before consecration would be MOST inappropriate and a grave abuse.

I think we need to pray more in Mass than watch every move our bishops, priests, and deacons make in the Mass which causes us so much pain. Mass is for giving thanks to God, that is all.


I’ve seen EMHCs do this many times at the Roman rite church here in my neighborhood. In fact, I think it’s been done at every mass I’ve attended there.


It “should not” happen. However, sometimes there are legitimate circumstances where it does. One instance would be if the priest is physically unable to carry the hosts from the Tabernacle to the altar. Ideally a deacon would be on hand to do it for him, however sometimes a deacon is unavailable - especially during the week, as many deacons work secular jobs in addition to being a deacon. Then someone else will have to remove the consecrated hosts. However, this would be the exception and shouldn’t be the rule, and then only under special circumstances.


I agree that it is quite common in many Latin rite parishes in the USA. There are some, though, that strictly follow the GIRM rules. We all know which ones they are–and it hinges in the pastor me thinks. At any rate, I see you are a Maronite, so I might add I often attend the Divine Liturgy/mass at a Maronite parish and I’ve NEVER seen that practice there. Is it a matter of sheer numbers of mass attendees? Laziness or laxity? Is it that the pastor feels allowing the extraordinary ministers to more “fully” participate in all facets of the mass will yield fruit in the future? Is it because there is simply a shortage if ordinary ministers (priests and deacons) of those sacraments present at a given mass? I honestly don’t know.


I never really thought about this, but isn’t it just a natural side effect of having so many Masses in a given week? My parish has 12 Masses a week and attendance fluctuates widely. This morning at Mass there were around 45 people, yesterday it was about half that.

This is going to get me thinking now…

Also, isn’t there a rule that there has to be something left over? Aside from the homebound I didn’t think the tabernacle was supposed to be empty unless it was Good Friday. I once asked a ICKSP priest about running out during the Mass and he told me in those instances he starts to break the Hosts into pieces and I think I remember him saying that something has to be left in the tabernacle even if it’s just a tiny particle (I suppose that could be his own personal rule though).

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