A listener asks Father Dave about consecration at home. The listener explains that while watching livestreamed Mass at home, one of his family members has been placing an unconsecrated host in front of the TV to be consecrated by the priest. He wonders if this is valid, or if it’s wrong to do so.
Father Dave responds, “Is it wrong? It is, but it’s wrong in the sense that it doesn’t work. [Consecration] doesn’t go through the TV. So does believing that it happens is wrong? Yes, that’s a wrong belief … Maybe it’s an elderly relative who has a great devotion to the Eucharist. I just wouldn’t want that person to be misled that if they do put it on a plate in front of the TV, wait for the priest to say the prayer, and then go up and receive it. I wouldn’t want them to think that they are experiencing the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist because they are not. It can’t happen through a TV screen or through an internet laptop. It can only happen in person.
“It’s unfortunate that I have to be this blunt because people are obviously yearning for the Eucharist … Let’s just say, some people are Eucharistic ministers and maybe they might have brought some [consecrated] hosts home with them for a homebound person. So let’s switch up the question a little bit. Is it wrong to hold that up in front of the TV?”
Father Dave explains that in such a case, the host does not need to be consecrated again, “But, that is wrong in a different way in that when you bring a consecrated host to a homebound person, the idea is that that person needs to consume it pretty much as soon as you get there. You don’t keep that around in a pyx for next Sunday while watching TV. I can’t break a little consecrated host in half or something. Don’t do that. Please know that when when we bring the host to a hospital or to someone that’s home bound, we bring it in a pyx which is designed to actually transport it.”
“It’s not magical or something like that, but just so that we have a certain amount of reverence. The idea is that we don’t stop at the store on the way, and that’s not a problem these days. But we go directly [to the homebound person] and we begin the ritual and that person consumes it. People are desperate, so maybe somebody is even doing something like I’m suggesting now, which is if they have, they shouldn’t have, you shouldn’t have a consecrated Host lying around. And even if it’s just in a pyx, it should be used right away when you bring it from the church.”