What should I do if a communicant does not consume the host?

A month or two ago, my family and I were at Sunday Mass, and during Eucharist, a girl between the ages of 8 and 11 came back to her seat, waving the consecrated host above her head, and making faces at her mother (who had not gone up for Eucharist). When she sat down next to her mother, the two of them were laughing and talking, while the host remained unconsumed. As the two were in the pew directly behind me, I didn’t want to keep turning around and staring, but wasn’t sure what I should have done. I wasn’t able to mention it to our parish priest after Mass; and, when I went to confession next, I forgot to mention it to him.

What should I have done in that situation, and what can I do now (if anything)? The thought that they were simply unaware of the protocol doesn’t seem to fit, as there were, obviously, no other people swinging the host above their heads as they returned to their seats. I can’t get this incident out of my head.

At the time of the incident, there were two possible courses of action: If you could do so in a polite and non-accusatory manner, you might have said quietly to the mother, “I’m sorry to disturb you, but I need to let you know that your daughter should consume the Communion now.” The tone you want to strive for is politely giving information to someone in need of it. If you felt it unwise to directly confront the mother, or if the mother refused to act, you could quietly approach an usher and explain the problem to him.

As for what you could do now, it is still possible to write a letter to the pastor of the parish, explaining to him the scene you witnessed and politely suggesting that the extraordinary ministers and ushers be reminded to keep an eye out for communicants who have not immediately consumed the host upon reception.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.