What is the correct thing to do when the precious blood is spilled during distribution of the Eucharist?

By April 1, 2015 3 Comments

Full Question

When an elderly communicant with trembling hands grasped the chalice, a large quantity of the precious blood spilled on the carpet. The extraordinary minister looked to the priest who was standing nearby, and he motioned her to continue. Shouldn’t something have been done at the moment of spillage? Should I be nervous about my young children receiving from the chalice?


The spill should never be left to dry.  The General Instruction of the Roman Missalstates: “If any of the precious blood spills, the area should be washed and the water poured into the sacrarium” (280).
All ministers of Holy Communion should show the greatest reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist by their demeanor, their attire, and the manner in which they handle the consecrated bread or wine. Should there be any mishap—as when, for example, the consecrated wine is spilled from the chalice—then the affected area . . .  should be washed and the water poured into the sacrarium. (Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America, 29)
To lessen your anxiety, perhaps this is a good time to revisit with your children the proper way to receive the chalice at Mass. However, young children and anyone who suffers from tremors need not—and if possible should not—receive from the chalice.


  • Barbara Chace says:

    At my Church, the extraordinary minister is instructed to cover the spilled precious blood with a purificatior and to position themselves over the area of the spill until the end of Mass at which time the spill is cleaned.

    • Mary Datby says:

      That’s what we’re instructed to do also. It has never happened to me in the years I’ve been serving. I’m afraid I would be a bit lost as to what to do after the mass is over. When serving to elderly people and young children, I always try to keep my hand slightly braced around the cup in case they have a problem grasping it.

  • Erni says:

    Can I ask what do we pray in our seat after receiving “The Body and Blood of Christ”???

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