From a reader:
At a Mass in our Diocese this past Sunday, the priest was running very low on consecrated hosts. Even after breaking some of the hosts in order to distribute more, it was clear that there would not be near enough to accommodate everyone. When the hosts ran out, the priest returned to the altar and said the words of consecration over additional unconsecrated hosts. He then used these to distribute to those who did not receive from the first set. Are these hosts validly consecrated? What should a priest do in a situation where it becomes clear that a substantial portion of the congregation will not be able to receive?
The consecration was valid. When a priest says the words of consecration over valid matter and with the proper intention, the Eucharist is confected.
However, while breaking Hosts during Communion is one thing, consecrating more during Communion is another.
It is permissible to break Hosts in great need. But the Eucharist should not be consecrated apart from its proper moment, in the Canon or Eucharistic Prayer of Holy Mass.
An exception is when, for example, it is discovered that a chalice full of water with a couple drops of wine was "consecrated" by mistake. Also, if the priest is pretty sure that he didn’t say the form of consecration properly, he could repeat it later, even conditionally. The point is that the priest must consume both kinds, therefore he must have both kinds. It is not necessary for Mass to be valid that anyone else consume the Eucharist. Even if people don’t receive, they have been to Mass.
Another situation where the priest would need to consecrate outside of the normal moment would be if he finds that the Host has disappeared somehow. Perhaps wind took it. Imagine Mass in a war zone on the hood of a jeep.
In the old tract on "defects" of Mass at the beginning of the pre-Conciliar, Extraordinary Form of the Roman Missal, provision is made for a "missing" Host. Not only does De Defectibus speak about wind, but perhaps some animal got the Host. I can certainly imagine a bird swooping down, or a big rat, etc. There is a funny story about that last one, as a matter of fact, but I will save it. Another situation for the disappearance of the Host during Mass, thus requiring the priest to consecrate again, would be – as described in De Defectibus – and I love this – is that it disappears because of a miracle.
Yes, miracles happen.
I don’t recommend that you kneel in the pews asking God to "disappear" the Host. The priest, on the other hand….
But to consecrate not so as to assure the validity of Mass, but that more people can have Communion… no. Not right.
The best thing to do, IMO, is simply to explain the situation and urge people to make a spiritual Communion, perhaps offering to say Mass again (if it is permitted to binate etc. for pastoral reasons, etc.) immediately after.
I have had to do this, as a matter of fact, at a parish where I was visiting. I was told that there should be a full ciborium in the tabernacle: there wasn’t. I explained. No one threw a nutty. It was a "teachable moment". I took a couple minutes after Mass to run through the points and everyone was fine.