there was a bishop who during mass offered the host at the end of a pole

Hi, I have a question about this passage. It’s about a bubonic plague that was spread across Europe in the Medieval age.

What did the German bishop do? I don’t understand this sentence? What does “during mass” mean? Is it an idiom? What does “offered the host” mean? “Host” here is for parasite or for human? What does it have to do with a long pole or a long spoon?

Thanks in advance?

Mass refers to the Catholic worship service, in which communion is given. Communion is a ritual to remember the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on the cross, and is a continuance of a ritual started by Christ himself during the Last Supper.

During communion, unleavened bread wafers (similar to crackers) and wine are given to the church members. In Christian theology, bread represents the body of Jesus Christ, and wine represents his blood. The word ‘host’ comes from the Late Latin word ‘hostia’ meaning sacrifice.

During part of the Mass ritual, members of the church come forward to get a wafer and a sip of wine.

Normally, tradition calls for the priest (or bishop, or other clergy member) to place the wafer directly on the tongue of the recipient.

So, during this time of the plague, there was such fear of human-to-human contact, that even the ritual of worship was disrupted. The bishop was apparently afraid to touch the people receiving communion, and apparently placed the wafer in people’s mouth on the end of a pole.

I can’t help but imagine a lot of people got poked in the face, trying to place a small wafer in their mouth on the end of a long pole. Yeeowch! :shock:

Thank you very much skrej