Reception & Distribution of Holy Communion


Those who receive Communion may receive either in the hand or on the tongue, and the decision should be that of the individual receiving, not of the person distributing Communion. If Communion is received in the hand, the hands should first of all be clean. If one is right handed, the left hand should rest upon the right. The host will then be laid in the palm of the left hand and then taken by the right hand to the mouth. If one is left-handed this is reversed. It is never appropriate to reach out with the fingers and take the host from the person distributing. Communion should also never be received one handed. If for some reason both hands are not free, then Communion should be received on the tongue.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) 3rd Edition, March 2002

In giving Holy Communion, the minister holds the host slightly above the vessel, looks at the communicant, and in a clear voice says, “The Body of Christ” (These are the only words to be used. Nothing is to be added or subtracted, not even a name) to which the communicant responds “Amen” (This formula should not be altered, as it is a proclamation which calls for a response of faith on the part of the one who receives. The communicant should audibly respond, “Amen,” indicating by that response his or her belief that this small wafer of bread, the wine in this chalice are in reality the body and blood of Christ the Lord.) Then the Sacred Body is placed in the hand or on the tongue according to the manner indicated by the communicant.

• If a communicant begins to walk away carrying the host, the EMHC should say in a subdued voice, “Please consume the host now”.

Out of respect and reverence the communicant should never take a consecrated Host from the minister. The Priest, Deacon or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion should never allow this to happen.