Q: Holy Thursday, the tabernacle is to be empty at the beginning of Mass with the doors open and the tabernacle candle extinguished; is it proper to reserve the Blessed Sacrament some place else before Mass, and possibly distributed during the Holy Thursday Communion Rite, or should it all be consumed before Mass begins?
A: It’s best to reserve the Blessed Sacrament somewhere else; for example, in the sacristy. The hosts don’t have to be consumed before the mass. Please do NOT distribute previously consecrated hosts during the Holy Thursday mass. That’s precisely why the tabernacle should be empty beforehand. No one gets “leftovers” on Holy Thursday.
Q: Thanks, I appreciate your quick response. But I do want to clarify something about this; the Liturgy of Holy Thursday has us transfer the Blessed Sacrament to a place of repose that is not the main tabernacle in the church. Most places I’ve been at take it out of the church altogether to a place set up for just this occasion. Does this mean that if what was in the tabernacle before Holy Thursday Mass is taken to the sacristy, that we would have the Blessed Sacrament in two places at the end of Mass? And what regulations apply to reposing the Blessed Sacrament in places other than the main tabernacle of a parish church (at times other than at the end of Holy Thursday Mass)? I think I remember that parishes are not allowed to reserve it anywhere other than the main tabernacle, right? If so, wouldn’t reserving it before the Holy Thursday Mass in the sacristy be against that kind of regulation? Or am I just too deep into the weeds and need to just let “God supply” for what’s no big deal?
A: I think you’re overthinking this. I set aside a space in the sacristy for the ciborium and the red candle. For the purposes of these days, I think it’s fine. There is no explicit legislation on where to put the reserved sacrament for Thursday and Friday. There’s little point in combining the reserved sacrament. Adoration is closed Thursday midnight, so even the temporary tabernacle is not open for viewing after that time. Ideally the Blessed Sacrament is kept in a more secluded – and secure – place.