The ciborium – the plural is ‘ciboria’ – is a vessel looking like a flattened chalice with a lid. As with the chalice it is either solid gold or lined with gold or some other precious metal so that honour is given to Jesus Christ by their use. When the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle to be taken to the sick or the dying, as an object of veneration or to be used at Holy Communion at a later Mass it is important that the hosts are kept fresh and do not deteriorate. At the end of every Mass any consecrated hosts that remain unused will be placed in the ciborium which is returned to the safety of the tabernacle. Any Precious Blood remaining is consumed to avoid the possibility of accidents. Often the lid of the ciborium is covered with a veil, not shown, when it is in the tabernacle to further stress the importance of what it contains.
Occasionally, when Holy Communion is distributed outside of the Mass as at a Eucharistic Service the reserved sacrament will be called upon. At the Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday afternoon, following the veneration of the cross the Blessed Sacrament consecrated at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the previous evening is brought to the altar for Holy Communion.