“Ask a Priest: May I Keep a Host From My Dad’s Funeral Mass?”

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Q: I wanted to keep the host from my father’s funeral in a pyx to put next to my small personal urn of his ashes. Is that okay? – E.H.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: While it is good to want to honor the memory of your dad, you aren’t doing it in the right way.

For one thing, it is generally forbidden for someone to retain the Blessed Sacrament in a private residence.

The Church in its Code of Canon Law, No. 934 §1 says, “The Most Holy Eucharist: 1) must be reserved in the cathedral church or its equivalent, in every parish church, and in a church or oratory connected to the house of a religious institute or society of apostolic life.”

Canon 935 adds, “No one is permitted to keep the Eucharist on one’s person or to carry it around, unless pastoral necessity urges it and the prescripts of the diocesan bishop are observed.”

“Pastoral necessity” includes cases such as taking Communion to the sick.

It is also forbidden to keep the ashes of a person in one’s residence.

The ashes should be buried or put in a consecrated place. For more reading see the Philadelphia Archdiocese posting at https://www.philadelphiacatholiccemeteries.com/burial-options/cremation/.

Or the Vatican instruction at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20160815_ad-resurgendum-cum-christo_en.html

So: if you have the Eucharist at home, please take it to a Catholic Church and hand it in immediately.

If you have ashes of your father, please contact your parish about interring them.

To honor your dad, it’s better to offer prayers, sacrifices and Masses for him. With God’s grace you and your dad can be reunited someday.

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