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Faith/Spirituality Forum: Particles of the Host

by Catherine Frakas 19 Jun 2001

Particles of the Host QUESTION from Shirley O'Connor on October 24, 2002 Peace to you in Christ
Could you please advise/correct me on the following:
I believe that every particle of the Host is Jesus - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity - every particle. Case in point: When I became a Catholic, I began receiving Jesus in the hand. I'm not sure why but I did. I always tried to check for particles but never saw any remaining. I began to feel in my heart that I should be receiving Jesus on the tongue. I prayed to Him to help me to discern - was this really what I should be doing or was it just my mind - you know my emotional state or something - so I asked Him for a sign.
One Sunday, after I had received Jesus in the hand, and after Mass and I was ready to leave (I was in the car) for some reason I checked my hands and there was a particle of the Host in my left hand. I consumed this particle as quickly as I could and I said a prayer and thought Dear God, what have I done with my hands after church that could have injured You (not that anything could I suppose but you know what I mean). I resolved from that day to this that I will never receive Jesus again in the hand.
I have no right to tell people what to do however I really wish that they could be reminded to check their hands for particles and why!
Lately, one of the Priests that I know has said (and I'm not quoting verbatum) that we don't worry about that. Well you know what - I do worry about that!
Could you please comment, give me some documents for backup, or whatever. If I am wrong, then perhaps you could help me with that too. I just about fell over when I found this out. I can't believe that this Priest would have said that. He must be under some kind of attack or something.
Thanks so much for your continued support and for what you do for Jesus. I know that He is pleased.
In Christ
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on October 25, 2002 Dear Mrs. O'Connor:
You are correct. Every particle is the body, soul, blood, and divinity of Jesus Christ. When you saw the particle remaining in your hand you did the right thing to consume it immediately and offer to God a prayer in case anything happened that might have offended Him.
I do not think this is scrupulosity as long as the person calmly consumes the particle and offers a quick prayer and then go one with their day.
I would disagree with the Priest that we should not worry about this. I think it is unfortunate that communion in the hand is allowed, but it is allowed so we cannot tell people they can't do it.
From what I understand, however, communion in the hand is an experiment and thus there is no guarantee that it will always be allowed. Receiving our Lord on the Tongue is the norm and will continue to be the norm.
Especially those who receive our Lord in the hands need to be aware of this issue and if they find any particles left over should do as you did.
The parishioners ought to be instructed on this from the ambo and Extraordinary Ministers should be instructed to wash their hands in the proper manner after distributing the Host.
Here is an article that gives several documents from Rome that may help you. It mentions the issue of particles:
Some other general articles on the Eucharist may be of general interest:
The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist
Liturgical Use of Bread
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