GUIDELINES FOR THE RECEPTION OF COMMUNION
As Catcholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion.
We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly an frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion,
participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. a person who is
conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession
except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be
mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as
possible (Code of Canon Law, canon 916). A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all.
For Fellow Christians:
We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray
that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another
and begin to dispel the sad divisions that separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear,
in keeping with Christ's prayer for us "that they may all be one" (John 17:21).
For those not receiving Holy Communion:
Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness
of fait, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily
not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing inexeptional circumstances by other Christians
requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon 844 § 4).
Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church
are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code
of Canon Law does not object ot the reception of Communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 § 3).
All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity
with the Lord Jesus and with one another.
We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to
Holy Communion, we ask them to offer thier prayers for the peace and unity of the human family.
United States Catholic Conference of Bishops
November 1996 ® All rights reserved.
As frequently as possible! Actually, the Church prescribes that Catholics receive the Eucharist at least once per year (during Easter)
but recommends that Catholics partake of the sacrament as frequently as possible (not to exceed two times per day).
After all, if the Eucharist really is what the Church believes, why wouldn’t a person want to receive Christ daily
or at least as often as possible?
Just as is the case with all of the sacraments, the Eucharist instills the very life of God into the recipient.
In other words, they bring grace to the grace needy. Specifically though, the Church teaches that the effects of the
Eucharist are four-fold:
- Our relationship (union) with Christ is deepened
- The supernatural, divine life, in the recipient is increased, strengthening him/her to live a holy, loving,
self-sacrificing Christian life
- The recipient is separated from sin (venial sin is forgiven and the recipient is preserved from mortal sin)
- The recipient is united more firmly to other members of the Church and as such the Church grows in unity
The Eucharistic fast is a one hour fast before receiving Holy Communion to observe a period of reflecting and
spiritual hunger for Our Lord. Only medicine and water are allowed before hand, but if one needs to eat for serious
medical reason this, for pastoral reasons, is allowed.