Fasting and the Eucharist

Today I went to daily mass for the first time in a long while. The mass was less than an hour although I thought it would be at least 35 to 40 minutes long. The reception of the Eucharist occurred approximately 25 minutes within the mass (as opposed to the 35 to 40 minutes that I expected). I chose to receive the Eucharist at that time. However, I took my last sip of coffee about 45 minutes before that. Thus, I technically broke the 1 hour fasting requirement. Was this wrong to do? I took my last sip of coffee without looking at the clock. The fasting requirement only dawned on me after I took the sip of coffee. Should I have abstained from receiving the Eucharist? What should one do if they thoughtlessly drink something before mass? Should they not receive the Eucharist even though the breaking of the fast was an accident?

Thanks for your help.

houston1

I think that the most important thing here is that you have learned from this experience, maybe next time you go to confession you could talk to the priest about this and he can give you some better peace of mind.

Personally, yes, I think I would stay in my seat for Communion, as I would if I arrive late to Mass.
It shouldn't really be down to 'following rules', more out of a genuine affection and respect for the Eucharist.
God bless:)

Good answer.

If we start looking at such things as legalistic, we may as well chuck the New Covenant and go back to the old one.

The one hour fast is so minimal that many people don't even realize it is in effect. If someone in the pew realizes that they have eaten or drank something other than water within the one hour, they should not go up for Holy Communion. That solves the problem. This minimal fast is an important part of the preparation for receiving the Holy Eucharist. If someone choses to decide to receive anyway after realizing the fast was not made, it should be confessed. It's not something we can decide is not all that important, or too legalistic. We definitely should not decide that it is more important to receive the Eucharist, if we are not properly prepared.

Thanks for all the responses. I can see that it is really the respect for the Eucharist. I should have remained in my seat or just gone up for a blessing. I'll mention it in confession as soon as I have a chance to go.

[quote="houston1, post:6, topic:182362"]
Thanks for all the responses. I can see that it is really the respect for the Eucharist. I should have remained in my seat or just gone up for a blessing. I'll mention it in confession as soon as I have a chance to go.

[/quote]

You shouldn't have mentioned going up for a blessing. Expect all hell to break loose in this thread in a couple minutes. :D

[quote="houston1, post:6, topic:182362"]
Thanks for all the responses. I can see that it is really the respect for the Eucharist. I should have remained in my seat or just gone up for a blessing. I'll mention it in confession as soon as I have a chance to go.

[/quote]

Bummer, I know, I think many of us have been put in that position where communion is distributed before our full hour of fast.

If it happens again, you may want to try the priest or minister after Mass. I've seen them giving communion to those who were standing in confession lines after Mass.

what? i thought you could only not eat for an hour! i did not know that you could not drink anything elese but water!

what do you do if, like, you have been drinking coffee up to right before Mass begins? is it a mortal sin to eat before recieving Euchrist? my mother says you can eat crakers before mass if you feel sick. is that OK? plus my sister and i always have this argument: is the fasting one hour before mass, or Communion?

I always fast one hour before Mass starts. Simple. Easy to remember.

[quote="corinne333, post:9, topic:182362"]
what? i thought you could only not eat for an hour! i did not know that you could not drink anything elese but water!

what do you do if, like, you have been drinking coffee up to right before Mass begins? is it a mortal sin to eat before recieving Euchrist? my mother says you can eat crakers before mass if you feel sick. is that OK? plus my sister and i always have this argument: is the fasting one hour before mass, or Communion?

[/quote]

If you have been eating right before Mass, just don't go to Holy Communion. Yes, it is a mortal sin if you know it is a discipline of the Church, and do it anyway. Disregarding the disciplines of the Church is serious. If you feel a little sick and eat some crackers, just don't go to Holy Communion. If you need to take a Rolaid or some medication, that is different and would not be breaking the fast. The fast is 1 hour before receiving Holy Communion, not 1 hour before Mass.

What if you have a medical condition, like my daughter who has had diabetes since she was 18 months old. Occasionally she has had to eat something in order to keep her blood sugar from crashing.

Fourth, you must observe the Eucharistic fast. Canon law states, "One who is to receive the most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception only of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion" (CIC 919 §1). Elderly people, those who are ill, and their caretakers are excused from the Eucharistic fast (CIC 191 §3). Priests and deacons may not dispense one obligated by the Eucharistic fast unless the bishop has expressly granted such power to them (cf. CIC 89).

catholic.com/library/Who_Can_Receive_Communion.asp

[quote="Cathryn, post:11, topic:182362"]
If you have been eating right before Mass, just don't go to Holy Communion. Yes, it is a mortal sin if you know it is a discipline of the Church, and do it anyway. Disregarding the disciplines of the Church is serious. If you feel a little sick and eat some crackers, just don't go to Holy Communion. If you need to take a Rolaid or some medication, that is different and would not be breaking the fast. The fast is 1 hour before receiving Holy Communion, not 1 hour before Mass.

[/quote]

However, if we ensure that we finish eating and drinking anything other than water one hour before the start of Mass, we never end up in the situation that the OP found her/himself.

The Eucharist fast is far too short and it is not possible to determine when Communion will start being distributed - so much depends on the speed of the priest, the length of the homily or if there will be one, since at daily Mass a homily is not required.

Far simpler to ensure that you have already fasted an hour by the time Mass starts.

[quote="Scott_D, post:12, topic:182362"]
What if you have a medical condition, like my daughter who has had diabetes since she was 18 months old. Occasionally she has had to eat something in order to keep her blood sugar from crashing.

[/quote]

For a medical condition she could be dispensed from the discipline. She could also decide to follow the fast as much as possible, but break if if she feels the need. For a formal dispensation she should ask her priest; he would readily grant it.

[quote="Beachcomber, post:10, topic:182362"]
I always fast one hour before Mass starts. Simple. Easy to remember.

[/quote]

[quote="Joan_M, post:14, topic:182362"]
However, if we ensure that we finish eating and drinking anything other than water one hour before the start of Mass, we never end up in the situation that the OP found her/himself.

The Eucharist fast is far too short and it is not possible to determine when Communion will start being distributed - so much depends on the speed of the priest, the length of the homily or if there will be one, since at daily Mass a homily is not required.

Far simpler to ensure that you have already fasted an hour by the time Mass starts.

[/quote]

+1.

Fast for one hour before the START of Mass. Thus, no matter when Communion is distributed during Mass, you know you'll be good. :thumbsup:

Thank you Cathryn. I was never sure how dispensations worked.

[quote="MatthewBerkeley, post:3, topic:182362"]
Personally, yes, I think I would stay in my seat for Communion, as I would if I arrive late to Mass.
It shouldn't really be down to 'following rules', more out of a genuine affection and respect for the Eucharist.
God bless:)

[/quote]

Or go up and receive a blessing, which is what I've been doing lately :( Thankfully I'll be straightened out soon.

only elderly people are excused from the fast?

i don't ask my wife to fast because she's pregnant, and she's part of the choir. so i have her have a heavy breakfast before going to church (we go to 9am mass) because for several times she felt sick during mass and almost fainted on a couple of occassions. i've already asked her to stop joining the choir until after the pregnancy but i don't think she can skip a meal for too long until then.

i know she's excused from fasting and abstinence during lent, but how about for mass? i can't really find another way around it, our parish has only two masses on sundays and the other one is in French. and we can't regularly commit to anticipated mass because we do a lot of things on saturdays

Every diabetic is different. I fast from the night before until after Mass. We generally go out for a nice breakfast around 10:30, and the wait doesn’t bother me at all. I’m not scrupulous, but if I have a cough drop or something like that because I’m coughing (a chronic problem for me) I won’t receive Communion. Other people consider a cough drop medicine.

For other diabetics, like my mother, it would have been a big problem. Her glucose was all over the place, dropping over a 100 points in 20 minutes.

Your daughter (if she’s an adult) or you (if she’s not) knows what she needs to do to safeguard her health. If fasting would be a problem for her, she shouldn’t fast. However one hour is not a very long time. If she puts her mind to it, and gets up early enough to eat a little something before that, she should be fine. We can usually find ways to make things work if we that’s what we want.

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