What to do when the sacred host is dropped?

Can anyone tell me the proper protocol of the church when a ciborium falls which contains the sacred host and they have fallen to the floor. This happened and the sacred hosts were scooped up and distributed to the faithful. Shouldn’t there be some procedure not to give out the sacred species once they have fallen over the floor and reverence for the bits and pieces that have fallen to the floor with proper cleanup. Thank you for any articles you may be able to provide regarding this subject.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

  1. If a host or any particle should fall, it is to be picked up reverently. If any of the Precious Blood is spilled, the area where the spill occurred should be washed with water, and this water should then be poured into the sacrarium in the sacristy.

Communion hosts are fairly solid, unless broken they usually will not flake or leave crumbs. If after the spilled hosts have been reverently gathered there does not appear to be any remnants then there doesn’t appear that anything else needs to be done. It would certainly be acceptable to “corner off” that area until it can be reverently washed with water (and the water poured into the sacrarium) but it is not absolutely necessary unless there are pieces of the host still on the floor. If there is no appearance of bread then there is no sacrament present.

Whether or not to distribute those hosts is a matter of opinion. Someone individuals may not want to receive those hosts due to health concerns of eating something that has been on the floor. But the priest can’t just quickly consecrate more hosts, so there’s really nothing else that can be done other than distribute to those who are willing to receive. The remaining hosts should then be consumed by the priest(s) and deacon(s) after Mass. If the hosts are in a condition that renders them unhealthy to consume they may be dissolved in water and poured down the sacrarium.

In the situation you describe where an *entire *ciborium was dropped, I would expect that there might be some fragments of the host on the floor and the area probably should have been set off in some way and reverently washed after Mass. But since I was not there I cannot say that for sure, it might have been the case that they were all in tact hosts that did not fragment.

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