“Ask a Priest: Could I Bring My Own Container to Get the Precious Blood?”

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Q: Because of the COVID restrictions I miss taking the Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. What about if I bring a very small plastic bottle with red wine in it to Mass and as the priest consecrates the wine at the altar, my wine would be consecrated as well and I could drink it after receiving the host. I would tell the priest I am doing this since he is the authority at Mass. Your thoughts on this would be very welcome. – E.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: While your desire for receiving the Precious Blood is admirable, you already in fact receive the Blood of Christ when you receive the host.

The Catechism in No. 1390 states: “Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, Communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace.”

Your basic intuition is valid, however. The same number in the Catechism goes on to say, “But ‘the sign of Communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly.’ This is the usual form of receiving communion in the Eastern rites.”

In any case, any vessel destined to hold the Precious Blood has to be made of precious materials, such as a gold or silver plating. Plastic bottles are not suitable.

The Holy See’s 2004 instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum says:

“Sacred vessels for containing the Body and Blood of the Lord must be made in strict conformity with the norms of tradition and of the liturgical books. The Bishops’ Conferences have the faculty to decide whether it is appropriate, once their decisions have been given the recognitio by the Apostolic See, for sacred vessels to be made of other solid materials as well. It is strictly required, however, that such materials be truly noble in the common estimation within a given region, so that honor will be given to the Lord by their use, and all risk of diminishing the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in the eyes of the faithful will be avoided. Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate” (No. 117).

In special cases, a priest might consecrate a second chalice for a celiac sufferer if no gluten-free hosts are available.

But most priests wouldn’t consecrate a second chalice just because someone wants to receive Communion under both species.

If the priest did it for one parishioner, then others would likely want the same treatment. That would lead to a plethora of chalices needing to be consecrated, which isn’t practical or even possible in most cases.

Imagine if 50 other people see you getting “your own chalice” at communion time. If they demand the same treatment, the priest would need dozens of extra chalices on the altar. That simply won’t work.

For now, it might be good to be grateful for having the chance to receive the Host. Many Catholic can’t even get that much.

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