Author Topic: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?  (Read 6022 times)

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Offline Seekingthetruth

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What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« on: August 12, 2007, 07:27:33 PM »
? I might have seen it happen today.
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Offline arimethea

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2007, 08:09:48 PM »
They are picked up and consumed by the priest or the deacon.
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Offline Seekingthetruth

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2007, 08:17:40 PM »
They are picked up and consumed by the priest or the deacon.

Does the priest then pour and burn alcohol over the spot?
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Offline arimethea

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2007, 08:20:24 PM »
If it was on carpet then that might be appropriate. A Reason why carpeting in churches is bad.
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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2007, 08:40:35 PM »
If it was on carpet then that might be appropriate. A Reason why carpeting in churches is bad.

Besides the obvious fact that carpeting in Churches looks bad ;)
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Offline Thanatos

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2007, 08:56:02 PM »
? I might have seen it happen today.

I saw it happen today. A mother and child were going up to recieve communion, and the child kicked the chalice but the priest held on to it. Some of the Gifts sloshed onto his vestments. He gasped. Everything stopped, he went behind the iconostasis, closed the door and pulled the curtain shut. Apparently, he explained later, if the Holy Gifts get onto your clothes, you have to bring them to the church where they will burn them and eventually bury the ashes. I don't know what would happen if it got on the floor though.

Offline serb1389

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2007, 09:02:45 PM »
It depends on how bad it is. 

I've seen priests get on the ground and consume it off the ground...

I've seen priests take that piece of the carpet and cut it out, and then burn it. 

One time a priest put an Icon over the spot so that no one stepped on it and continued distributing the communion, and took care of it later. 

It just depends I guess...

One way or another it has to be handled though...
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Offline Innocent_T

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2007, 09:17:34 PM »
I saw once that the priest himself kicked the chalice over onto the Holy Table while turning around. Everyone gasped and the choir even stopped singing. He cleaned it with communion cloths as good as he could and took care of the rest afterwards the divine liturgy. Not sure what he did with the Holy table cloths...
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2007, 09:45:04 PM »
I've heard from my priest that in some jurisdictions the liturgy stops immediately if only one priest is celebrating because the priest is suspended from all priestly duties on the spot.  The priest must then report the mishap to his bishop at his first opportunity and submit to whatever discipline, if any, the bishop deems appropriate.  Usually nothing long-lasting, though.

I have had the experience of holding the cloth for Communion and having to catch the consecrated Host when it fell out of a communicant's mouth.  We caught the Host to keep it from falling to the floor, which is one of the reasons we use the cloth, but that was still one of the scariest moments in my life. :o
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2007, 09:50:47 PM »
I've heard from my priest that in some jurisdictions the liturgy stops immediately if only one priest is celebrating because the priest is suspended from all priestly duties on the spot.  The priest must then report the mishap to his bishop at his first opportunity and submit to whatever discipline, if any, the bishop deems appropriate.  Usually nothing long-lasting, though. 

That's a new one, even for me.
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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2007, 09:53:27 PM »
I have had the experience of holding the cloth for Communion and having to catch the consecrated Host when it fell out of a communicant's mouth.  We caught the Host to keep it from falling to the floor, which is one of the reasons we use the cloth, but that was still one of the scariest moments in my life. :o
I hold the cloth about every other week. I don't recall a time when the Body has dropped, but the Blood has occasionally. I do know that if the person does not consume entirely what they are given, the priest finishes it immediately.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2007, 09:54:02 PM »
That's a new one, even for me.
It might be up to each individual bishop's discretion.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2007, 09:59:12 PM »
WARNING:  The following may gross some of you out.  If so, my apologies.

I recall reading of the experience of one 20th Century priest-saint after he gave Communion to a sick man in the hospital.  After the man vomited the Holy Mysteries, the priest-saint dropped onto his hands and knees and licked the vomited Communion up off the floor. :-X
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Offline Seekingthetruth

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2007, 10:29:29 PM »
The Church is all marble and mosaic, so the whole alcohol thing was the best option. It was all caused by a young child who was causing a disturbance in the back of the church during the priests communion. I think he might have had autism. His mother took him up and he either kicked the chalice or spit the Holy Gifts out immediately. It was in the assistant priests communion line, so Church didn't stop or anything, but it certainly scared me. Father reacted immediately and got on his knees and consumed the holy mysteries. He then wiped what remained with an altar cloth and went behind the iconostasis and brought out rubbing alcohol and poured in on the spot and lit it with a candle.
Quote
I recall reading of the experience of one 20th Century priest-saint after he gave Communion to a sick man in the hospital.  After the man vomited the Holy Mysteries, the priest-saint dropped onto his hands and knees and licked the vomited Communion up off the floor.

Yea, he was sick with TB or some other disease that would have infected and killed the Priest. This Holy Priest never caught the illness, even though he consumed the mans infected blood! In my mind, that's the opposite of sick.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2007, 11:43:51 PM »
Yea, he was sick with TB or some other disease that would have infected and killed the Priest. This Holy Priest never caught the illness, even though he consumed the mans infected blood! In my mind, that's the opposite of sick.
You seem to know more of the story than I can recall right now.  Can you tell me the name of that priest?  Was it St. Nektarios of Aegina?
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Offline serb1389

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2007, 12:07:48 AM »
I would say that it takes a certain kind of piety to do this...

I'm not sure if this is what might be called a common or standard practice...
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Offline Seekingthetruth

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2007, 02:48:22 PM »
Quote
You seem to know more of the story than I can recall right now.  Can you tell me the name of that priest?

I believe the priests name was Father Stamos Kondaxis (sp?). He lived to the age of 95!

Quote
I'm not sure if this is what might be called a common or standard practice...

Things like that have to be done though. There are other interesting stories like that too. Their was a Greek island full of vipers and other dangerous snakes. One small viper somehow found himself in the local church one day. He happened to slither into the Chalice. The priest, who was ignorant of the fact, gave communion to the faithful. Afterwards, when he went to consume the gifts, he saw the snake. Having no other choice, he consumed the gifts along with the poisonous snake! He then cursed the snakes of the island. EVERY SNAKE ON THAT ISLAND DIED! An island that was literally crawling with serpents was from then on snake less. Scientist cannot figure it out, and when they try to release new snakes they die on the spot. Nothing happened to the priest.

Another story has to do with TB patients as well. A priest would go to a hospital every year to celebrate Divine Liturgy on the local churches feast day. The faithful present had deadly cases of TB. The priest brought with him a young Deacon who was to serve liturgy. After all the infected patients took communion, it was time for the Deacon to consume the remaining gifts. The priest saw the deacon was hesitating. He said "What are you waiting for? The gifts must be consumed!". The deacon said he wasn't going to do it. He was afraid that he was going to contract TB. The priest pleaded with him, telling the Deacon that it was a horrible sin to neglect such a thing. The Deacon persisted and left. The priest then consumed the Holy Gifts and was fine as always. Guess who was present in the Communion line the next year? The deacon! He contracted TB soon after refusing to consume the gifts.

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http://www.philokalia.org/Constantine%20Zalalas/Q&A/Q&A%204B-Communicable%20Diseases.MP3
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2007, 03:01:32 PM »
Quote
Guess who was present in the Communion line the next year?

No need to guess... it's a stock answer that has been used for three thousand years, used to inspire and make a point, not to give factual biographical information. The circumstances and setup has changed, but the general storytelling elements/themes/solutions are the same now as they were millennia ago. The thing I never understood is why hagiographers always had people dying by decapitation. I don't know how many lives of saints stories I read where the saint was jabbed with spears, beaten, twisted, burnt, etc., and lived, but then when it came time to have their head chopped off, it worked right away. Maybe the Christians chose that form of execution as an example of a triumphant way of being martyred because it is how Paul reportedly died, I dunno.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2007, 03:40:46 PM »
No need to guess... it's a stock answer that has been used for three thousand years, used to inspire and make a point, not to give factual biographical information. The circumstances and setup has changed, but the general storytelling elements/themes/solutions are the same now as they were millennia ago. The thing I never understood is why hagiographers always had people dying by decapitation. I don't know how many lives of saints stories I read where the saint was jabbed with spears, beaten, twisted, burnt, etc., and lived, but then when it came time to have their head chopped off, it worked right away. Maybe the Christians chose that form of execution as an example of a triumphant way of being martyred because it is how Paul reportedly died, I dunno.
And how do you know that your take on this is true?
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2007, 03:51:40 PM »
Quote
And how do you know that your take on this is true?

I don't know it to be true, it is just the views I've come to hold after having read and thought about a couple thousand lives of saints. Some things I'm more sure about, some parts I'm less sure about; but I'm ready to change my view if at any time I realise that I've been wrong.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2007, 03:57:10 PM »
I don't know it to be true, it is just the views I've come to hold after having read and thought about a couple thousand lives of saints. Some things I'm more sure about, some parts I'm less sure about; but I'm ready to change my view if at any time I realise that I've been wrong.
Yeah, I will admit to harboring some skepticism toward those stories of saints who as infants refused to nurse at their mothers' breasts on Wednesdays and Fridays.
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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2007, 05:53:52 PM »
Another story has to do with TB patients as well. A priest would go to a hospital every year to celebrate Divine Liturgy on the local churches feast day. The faithful present had deadly cases of TB. The priest brought with him a young Deacon who was to serve liturgy. After all the infected patients took communion, it was time for the Deacon to consume the remaining gifts. The priest saw the deacon was hesitating. He said "What are you waiting for? The gifts must be consumed!". The deacon said he wasn't going to do it. He was afraid that he was going to contract TB. The priest pleaded with him, telling the Deacon that it was a horrible sin to neglect such a thing. The Deacon persisted and left. The priest then consumed the Holy Gifts and was fine as always. Guess who was present in the Communion line the next year? The deacon! He contracted TB soon after refusing to consume the gifts.
For several years recently my parish had a regular member who was dying of AIDS.  I can't tell you how many times parishioners followed this man in the Communion line without any qualms about receiving the Mysteries after him.  Our priest even offered those of weaker faith an out if they insisted on not receiving Communion from the same spoon as our AIDS patient, even though HIV is also not known to be communicated via exchange of saliva.  Our priest is also very good, though, about saying that, to his knowledge, no communicable disease has ever been transmitted via reception of the Holy Gifts.  "How can the very Fount of Immortality be the vehicle for disease and death?"  I often hear him ask during cold and flu season.

(Our resident AIDS patient has since succumbed to his infections and died.)
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2007, 06:00:28 PM »
For several years recently my parish had a regular member who was dying of AIDS.  I can't tell you how many times parishioners followed this man in the Communion line without any qualms about receiving the Mysteries after him.  Our priest even offered those of weaker faith an out if they insisted on not receiving Communion from the same spoon as our AIDS patient, even though HIV is also not known to be communicated via exchange of saliva.  Our priest is also very good, though, about saying that, to his knowledge, no communicable disease has ever been transmitted via reception of the Holy Gifts.  "How can the very Fount of Immortality be the vehicle for disease and death?"  I often hear him ask during cold and flu season.

(Our resident AIDS patient has since succumbed to his infections and died.)

If you think about it, the Priests should be the ones becoming most ill in the parish, since they must consume the gifts after everyone else has had the spoon touch them... But they're not.

{/tangent, please}
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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2007, 06:22:44 PM »
If you think about it, the Priests should be the ones becoming most ill in the parish, since they must consume the gifts after everyone else has had the spoon touch them... But they're not.

{/tangent, please}

someone called for a tangent..
OK.. what if a Priest is perpetually clumsy and drops the gifts before the "change" like at the Great Entrance?

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2007, 06:30:59 PM »
someone called for a tangent..
Actually, if I read Cleveland's use of html tags correctly, he's asking that we put an end to this tangent and get back on topic.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2007, 06:48:53 PM »
someone called for a tangent..
OK.. what if a Priest is perpetually clumsy and drops the gifts before the "change" like at the Great Entrance?

Actually, this doesn't seem to be much of a tangent - at least it is talking about dropping the gifts.

Actually, if I read Cleveland's use of html tags correctly, he's asking that we put an end to this tangent and get back on topic. 

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2007, 07:57:55 PM »
someone called for a tangent..
OK.. what if a Priest is perpetually clumsy and drops the gifts before the "change" like at the Great Entrance?
Then the Bishop needs to step and find out what the problem is and act on it.
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Offline Ebor

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2007, 10:32:41 PM »
someone called for a tangent..
OK.. what if a Priest is perpetually clumsy and drops the gifts before the "change" like at the Great Entrance?

Umm, then someone has to get a mop and clean up?

I apologize if this sound flip, but before it's just bread and wine and not the Body and Blood, isn't it?

Ebor
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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2007, 10:42:45 PM »
Umm, then someone has to get a mop and clean up?

I apologize if this sound flip, but before it's just bread and wine and not the Body and Blood, isn't it?

Ebor
I think you're right, but I think it's blessed bread and wine at this point, which still requires a protocol above and beyond just cleaning it up with a mop.  I could be wrong, though.  I often am.

I think, though, that what Αριστοκλής just posted indicates that I may be actually be right about this protocol.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2007, 10:44:16 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Innocent_T

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2007, 11:03:10 PM »
someone called for a tangent..
OK.. what if a Priest is perpetually clumsy and drops the gifts before the "change" like at the Great Entrance?

Our priest (OCA) explained to us that if for example he would drop dead after the proskomodie is done we are not allowed to touch our dispose of these gifts. These gifts are already holy, set aside for the mystery. We would have to call another priest (or deacon if present) that would have to take care of these gifts.
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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2007, 11:27:49 PM »
Yeah, I will admit to harboring some skepticism toward those stories of saints who as infants refused to nurse at their mothers' breasts on Wednesdays and Fridays.

While I am no modernist, not everything in patristics is written to be a literal "history" as we think of the term.
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Offline Aristibule

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2007, 11:37:12 PM »
Our priest (OCA) explained to us that if for example he would drop dead after the proskomodie is done we are not allowed to touch our dispose of these gifts. These gifts are already holy, set aside for the mystery. We would have to call another priest (or deacon if present) that would have to take care of these gifts.


This question came up recently regarding our processions as well, and a critic who was accusing us Orthodox of 'artolotry' (bread-worship.) Just as you said, our ROCOR clergy noted that after the preparation the gifts are referred to as 'the Sacrifice' or 'the Lamb' (depending on rite.) They have already been set apart, so are not treated as mere bread or wine.

On a tangent (hehe) - they used to teach Americans going to Muslim countries not to drop or throw away bread, that it was considered sacred in Muslim culture. Hint, hint...
"We must begin at once to "build again the tabernacle which is fallen down, and to build again the ruins thereof, and to set it up;" for HE WHO GAVE THE THOUGHT IN OUR HEART HE LAID ALSO THE RESPONSIBILITY ON US THAT THIS THOUGHT SHOULD NOT REMAIN BARREN." - J.J. Overbeck, 1866

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2007, 11:52:47 PM »
On a tangent (hehe) - they used to teach Americans going to Muslim countries not to drop or throw away bread, that it was considered sacred in Muslim culture. Hint, hint...

Good tangent.
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Offline MichaelArchangelos

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2007, 02:39:43 AM »
I recall reading of the experience of one 20th Century priest-saint after he gave Communion to a sick man in the hospital.  After the man vomited the Holy Mysteries, the priest-saint dropped onto his hands and knees and licked the vomited Communion up off the floor. :-X

I heard that St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco did the same thing when the man he was communing vomited.

Offline TinaG

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2007, 09:17:37 AM »
WARNING:  The following may gross some of you out.  If so, my apologies.

I recall reading of the experience of one 20th Century priest-saint after he gave Communion to a sick man in the hospital.  After the man vomited the Holy Mysteries, the priest-saint dropped onto his hands and knees and licked the vomited Communion up off the floor. :-X

Man- now that's some really gross piety.  I had a similar experience last year during Great Lent.  I had taken my kids, then 4 and 6, to an Italian place near church for a little kid dinner of shrimp pizza.  During Presanctified Liturgy my 6 yo wasn't feeling really well, but he went to communion anyway.  Liturgy had barely ended though when that shrimp pizza and the Holy Gifts came right back up again all over the pew along the wall.  I had never had this happen and at first I didn't know what to do, but I cleaned everything up with paper towels and then asked my priest.  He said to give him the bag and I just assumed he'd burn it.  I asked him a few weeks later and he said that he had waited till everything was dried up and then had indeed burned it.
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Offline Bono Vox

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Re: What Happens If Holy Gifts Are Dropped?
« Reply #36 on: August 15, 2007, 08:41:56 PM »
Quote
WARNING:  The following may gross some of you out.  If so, my apologies.

I recall reading of the experience of one 20th Century priest-saint after he gave Communion to a sick man in the hospital.  After the man vomited the Holy Mysteries, the priest-saint dropped onto his hands and knees and licked the vomited Communion up off the floor. Lips Sealed

Man- now that's some really gross piety.  I had a similar experience last year during Great Lent.  I had taken my kids, then 4 and 6, to an Italian place near church for a little kid dinner of shrimp pizza.  During Presanctified Liturgy my 6 yo wasn't feeling really well, but he went to communion anyway.  Liturgy had barely ended though when that shrimp pizza and the Holy Gifts came right back up again all over the pew along the wall.  I had never had this happen and at first I didn't know what to do, but I cleaned everything up with paper towels and then asked my priest.  He said to give him the bag and I just assumed he'd burn it.  I asked him a few weeks later and he said that he had waited till everything was dried up and then had indeed burned it.

Good stories, but I think I'm going to puke now.  ;)
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