Wednesday, February 18, 2004
"A further point mentioned in your question refers to the extraordinary minister of the Eucharist going to the tabernacle to retrieve and repose the hosts. This is not the normal practice during Mass.
The GIRM, in No. 162, states: "(If) ... there is a very large number of communicants, the priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, not approach the altar before the priest has received Communion, and they are always to receive from the hands of the priest celebrant e.g., duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been deputed for this purpose. ... These ministers should the vessel containing either species of the Most Holy Eucharist for distribution to the faithful."
Likewise, after Communion is completed, No. 163 specifies: "[A]s for any consecrated hosts that are left, he (the priest himself) either consumes them at the altar or carries them to the place designated for the reservation of the Eucharist." If a deacon or other priests are present they may also return the hosts to the tabernacle.
(by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum)."