Food before mass?

I heard it’s important not to eat an hour before receiving. Is this true?

Yes, the required fast is one hour before communion.

This is a requirement of the Church (discipline) and it is mortally sinful to intentionally break this requirement.

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I finished eating at 1037 and mass is at 11 so would it be ok?

It depends on the time at which you would actually receive communion. In my church we have so many back-to-back Masses that each has to be just less than an hour, as a result we would usually receive 30 to 35 minutes after the start of Mass. In my home country Mass is longer, and your time frame would probably be fine.

It’s probably best to allow yourself a little extra time rather than cutting it close. The idea is that by the time you receive communion you’re a little hungry both physically (though an hour fast hardly accomplishes that) and spiritually. The fast used to be three hours and before that it was from midnight.

If you have eaten in the last hour you can stay in your pew during communion and make a spiritual communion instead. There is no requirement to receive communion every time you go to Mass.

One can ask too for Holy Communion after Mass is done if the hour is then observed (or wait to get in line until the hour is up if that is possible).

What is the teaching regarding liquids?

Assuming communion is offered at 11:38 or later, then yes…

One may only consume water or medicine within an hour of communion, unless otherwise dispensed due to a medical requirement to eat in this time.

Yes, it is.

There are exceptions for those with health problems and those who care for people with health problems.

The fast used to be even longer.

Yes and it is a mortal sin to receive Communion if you have not fulfilled this fast obligation. If you eat less than an hour before Communion then simply stay in your seat and do not receive.
The best way is to fast at least one hour before Mass. That way you don’t have to try to compute when Communion normally is.

In general, the important points are covered here. To summarize the rules:

The current rules for fasting before Communion, introduced by Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964, are found in Canon 919 of the Code of Canon Law:

  1. A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from any food and drink, except for only water and medicine.

  2. A priest who celebrates the Most Holy Eucharist two or three times on the same day can take something before the second or third celebration even if there is less than one hour between them.

  3. The elderly, the infirm, and those who care for them can receive the Most Holy Eucharist even if they have eaten something within the preceding hour.

We must also, as always, use common sense. If you brush your teeth and happen to consume a morsel of food stuck between your teeth, that should not bar you from communion–you did not have the intent to eat. On the other hand, chewing gum, while not exactly nourishing food, is not allowed.

While some–the priest, the sick, and caregivers–are exempt from the fast, they should not presume to eat “just because they can”–if it is not a burden, they too can benefit from the practice of fasting. Similarly, rather than cutting the fast to a minimum, it is helpful to choose to lengthen it. Within living memory, the fast was from Midnight (not so manageable for evening Masses!), and then later it was reduced to three hours, which most people could manage. Or else, do as thistle suggests and fast an hour before Mass, when possible.


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