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It might have been an oft-repeated question but I suppose there are some rules before receiving Holy Communion... Could someone please elaborate...?


Thanks in advance... :)
You are obliged at present to abstain for one hour from all but medicine and water before receiving Communion.

The exception is a priest who says a second or third Mass on a Sunday (who need not fast between Masses), and the sick in receiving Communion during a sick call, who are obliged only to a 15-minute fast, unless it be Viaticum, in which case no fast is necessary.

It is better, but not obligatory, to observe the fast as reduced by Pius XII to accommodate evening Masses. This is a fast of three hours before Communion from solid food and alcohol, and one hour from other drinks, except water.

It is best to observe for morning Masses the traditional fast which was from midnight to Communion.
(02-11-2018, 03:51 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]You are obliged at present to abstain for one hour from all but medicine and water before receiving Communion.

The exception is a priest who says a second or third Mass on a Sunday (who need not fast between Masses), and the sick in receiving Communion during a sick call, who are obliged only to a 15-minute fast, unless it be Viaticum, in which case no fast is necessary.

It is better, but not obligatory, to observe the fast as reduced by Pius XII to accommodate evening Masses. This is a fast of three hours before Communion from solid food and alcohol, and one hour from other drinks, except water.

It is best to observe for morning Masses the traditional fast which was from midnight to Communion.

Thank you.  That is very helpful!
For the traditional fasting before Mass (from the night before), what if you get so hungry at Mass that you cannot focus?  We had one teenage girl faint during early morning Mass, because her blood sugar was too low.
(02-11-2018, 01:13 PM)AllSeasons Wrote: [ -> ]For the traditional fasting before Mass (from the night before), what if you get so hungry at Mass that you cannot focus?  We had one teenage girl faint during early morning Mass, because her blood sugar was too low.

Then don't follow it.

It is no longer obligatory, so while a good thing done out of devotion, if it causes a greater harm, then Prudence says don't do it.
(02-11-2018, 01:13 PM)AllSeasons Wrote: [ -> ]For the traditional fasting before Mass (from the night before), what if you get so hungry at Mass that you cannot focus?  We had one teenage girl faint during early morning Mass, because her blood sugar was too low.

Frequent reception of Holy Communion is a relatively newer tradition of the Church. It was not uncommon for Catholics to simply eat, then refrain from Holy Communion if they needed to eat prior. If it was an early morning Mass and her blood sugar was that low, she should have eaten something before and just refrained from Communion.
It was also easier when Mass was at 6 or 8 or 10 in the morning, not in the afternoon like many traditional Masses are now. Nowadays, as long as you aren't eating as you walk into church, you're probably good, since the current rule is one hour before Communion, not one hour before Mass. But I agree with MagisterMusicae as to what is better and best.
(02-11-2018, 05:41 PM)austenbosten Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-11-2018, 01:13 PM)AllSeasons Wrote: [ -> ]For the traditional fasting before Mass (from the night before), what if you get so hungry at Mass that you cannot focus?  We had one teenage girl faint during early morning Mass, because her blood sugar was too low.

Frequent reception of Holy Communion is a relatively newer tradition of the Church.  It was not uncommon for Catholics to simply eat, then refrain from Holy Communion if they needed to eat prior.  If it was an early morning Mass and her blood sugar was that low, she should have eaten something before and just refrained from Communion.

Frequent reception of Communion is relatively new when considered in light of the Jansenistic period, but if we look at the Medieval period and early Church we find daily Communion was the general norm, to the point where at one point it was common for the laity to keep the Blessed Sacrament in their homes so they could have Communion throughout the week.

Considered in the whole history of the Church, infrequent Communion was the outlier.

These days when due to the pagan world around us we need grace all the more, we should not be discouraging people from frequenting the Sacraments without good reason.

She should have just eaten an hour before Communion and then gone to Communion.

That is what the Church requires now.

To oblige oneself to what the Church requires is necessary. To oblige oneself to a more strict regime is good if prudent. To oblige oneself to a more strict regime when it is at the expense of reason is imprudent.
I usually keep the 3 hour fast as my minimum. If I go to Mass before 11 am, I'll keep it from midnight, but to keep it from midnight when going to a noon or later Mass is quite difficult. It's a more harsh penance than what most of us endure during the week and even on days when we may be fasting... and we're doing it on a Sunday when we shouldn't really be doing penance.

If you really can't hold out then do the one hour, anything additional is out of devotion. I'd say do as much as you're able and keep in mind what time you actually are going to Mass. If you eat your last piece of food at 8pm and then go to a 1pm Mass and then eat, you may be going 17 hours without food.
(02-11-2018, 10:09 PM)GangGreen Wrote: [ -> ]I usually keep the 3 hour fast as my minimum. If I go to Mass before 11 am, I'll keep it from midnight, but to keep it from midnight when going to a noon or later Mass is quite difficult. It's a more harsh penance than what most of us endure during the week and even on days when we may be fasting... and we're doing it on a Sunday when we shouldn't really be doing penance.

If you really can't hold out then do the one hour, anything additional is out of devotion. I'd say do as much as you're able and keep in mind what time you actually are going to Mass. If you eat your last piece of food at 8pm and then go to a 1pm Mass and then eat, you may be going 17 hours without food.

It is also worth noting that the fast is before Communion, not Mass.

That's part of the sad fact of the 1-hour fast, because if it's a Sunday Sung Mass with a 20 minute sermon, you could keep it just by showing up on time chewing on the last bites of your donuts.

If you are going to keep the 3-hour fast then it's always been (for the laity) from Communion, so if it's a typical Sunday Sung Mass with a 20-minute sermon (thus lasting about 1:15-1:30) you'd be quite safe eating 2 hours before Mass starts. But as you say, this is out of devotion, not out of any obligation.