Radio Show

Why Is It Okay to Run out of Wine at Mass, but Not Bread?


A radio listener, who sings in his parish’s choir, calls with a question for Father Dave: “In the choir, we go up [to receive Communion] at the end, [but on a Sunday] when I’m not singing, I sit kinda toward the front, and I take the Eucharist in both species. … When I’m in the choir, though, and I go up, the Eucharistic Minister has their hand over the cup for the Blood of Christ because there’s no more. Why is it acceptable for the Blood of Christ to run out, but if there’s not enough Eucharist [in the species of the Body of Christ], they go and get some more?”

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Father Dave explains that it isn’t so much a spiritual reason as it is a logistical one: “It’s not that it’s acceptable or not — the issue is that for the consecrated hosts, we do typically keep around extra of those so that there is something to go get [if we run out of hosts while distributing Communion]. We don’t do that with the consecrated wine, so there’s nothing to go get. … For instance, if there [were a scenario in which they ran out of consecrated hosts during Mass, and there weren’t] more in the Tabernacle, and — though this doesn’t usually happen — let’s say the priest consecrated lots and lots of wine. … It would certainly be fine — people would think it weird because it would be very out of the ordinary — but theologically and spiritually we would say that even if we ran out of hosts, but we still had plenty of the Blood of Christ left, that would be fine. But it doesn’t typically happen that way.”

LISTEN: Timing of the Breaking of Bread at Mass

One of the reasons the wine often runs out is because leftover consecrated wine is consumed immediately, not stored in the Tabernacle like leftover consecrated hosts. (Original Air 08-22-17)