Isn't a one hour fast before Communion a bit redundant?

And yes I know that one is free to do more. Nevertheless, to make it a rule seems redundant because you’d be fasting an hour before Communion anyway.

Typically people only receive Communion on Sunday Mass (going to the shorter daily Mass or receiving out of Mass is rather atypical). Mass is typically about an hour long, and Eucharist is received right at the end. Since you don’t eat anything during Mass till then, isn’t this required fast something that people do by default anyway? Ergo it isn’t really much of a sacrificial fast.

Our Sunday Masses are about 50 minutes, Communion usually starts around the 35-minute mark. Of course the daily Masses I go to are normally 25 minutes or so from start to finish. Either way, many folks live close enough to the church that they would have to be mindful of the time they stopped eating.

It is true that it isn’t that much of a sacrifice with regard to the letter of the law. I try to avoid minimalism with regard to this, but I think that’s what this is, a minimal guideline. Personally, I try to fast from waking up to Mass - which has partly compelled me to go to earlier Masses. I believe in the past the required fast was much more severe, but was relaxed through the years.

God bless,
Bryan

Yeah as I understand it, the requirement before was to fast from the previous night. Some Orthodox Churches still do.

Oh plus I might add, the big Masses are *over *an hour (Easter Vigil, Christmas Midnight Mass if you include the readings that come before it, Papal Masses, Confirmation Masses, Baptismal Masses, Wedding Masses) so you’ve obeyed the rule as long as you’re not eating during Mass, which nobody does anyway.

When my Mother was small (1930’s) the fast was from midnight. When I was small (1960ish) the fast was 3 hours. So yes, it use to be more “severe”.

I recall my mother telling me about her aunt who was living with them and was quite ill. She had to have medicine in the very early morning (abt 3 am?). The priest would come to the house (about 6 blocks) at that early hour to bring her communion so that she did not break fast by taking her meds…
Of course today this would not be a problem because of the short fast or else there would be a dispensation for the meds but back then - in my grandma’s house - nope.

Peace
James

how about consuming food after mass then ? wouldnt it make the host “dirty” then ?

Thanks for the input. It raises a couple other questions for me though. For one thing, was Mass ever celebrated later in the day back then? In the US I’ve seen Mass as late as 6PM; in the Philippines, 7:30 PM (except Wakes). If Mass could be celebrated that late back then, were the rules relaxed so one does not fast for 18 hours?

Also, did they have the Midnight Christmas Mass back then? How is fasting done for that?

And how about Easter Vigils? Where I’m from, the Vigil starts at 8PM and ends around 11PM. I’m sure the expectation was never for people to fast for 23 hours, so I wonder how it would have gone back then.

James, great to hear about how big the sacrifices were that priests needed to make sometimes. There was no dispensation for the ill back then though? Or did your family just go the extra mile and observe the fast anyway?

Sounds like you were told the same thing I was as a child. That we fasted so that our tummies would be empty for receiving the host. As a result I asked this same question here a while back…How long after communion should we wait to eat? :shrug:

The answer was that - my premise was in error. We do not fast to prevent contamination of the host, but rather as a preparatory discipline - to place our minds and hearts in a proper attitude to participate in the Eucharist.

Peace
James

The after-communion-fast rule has been eliminated. It used to be 15 minutes in the 60’s.

A one hour fast is not a real fast. Symbolically, I suppose it has meaning. But even then, most of the time I can eat breakfast on my way to the church and still have kept the fast by the time I receive Holy Communion.

Then its obviously not meant to be a sacrificial fast. It’s a fast in order to get your mind and heart ready for mass. So, 10-15 minutes before mass, I gotta start paying attention to my actions…being more aware. Works perfectly for me.

It doesn’t have to make you hungry in order to do something for you.

You all are so right, this one hour fast is really meaningless. Traditional Catholics fast from midnite and if it is a later mass will fast for 3 hours. The traditional priests fast from midnite and also fast for confession and other sacraments. News on this front today. Check out Rorate Caeli. Rome issued a new ordo for traditional catholics yesterday. It says in bold print that we traditional catholics are to absatin on all Fridays. Whoever heard of a catholic eatting meat on a Friday anyway?

(note: traditional catholics are those in summorum pontificum parishes like FSSP, ICKSP etc., our parishes actually have a decree setting us up to operate in this way)

The best thing about this story is that the priest was willing to do that. I know there are a few priests around these days who would do that but… not many.

In the past, it was not permitted to begin mass after 12:00 pm (noon). So there were no evening masses.

Also, did they have the Midnight Christmas Mass back then? How is fasting done for that?

It was the same – fast from midnight. So Christmas was a time when people sometimes did eat immediately before mass.

And how about Easter Vigils? Where I’m from, the Vigil starts at 8PM and ends around 11PM. I’m sure the expectation was never for people to fast for 23 hours, so I wonder how it would have gone back then.

At that time the Easter vigil took place on Saturday morning.

James, great to hear about how big the sacrifices were that priests needed to make sometimes. There was no dispensation for the ill back then though? Or did your family just go the extra mile and observe the fast anyway?

In the past, both water and medicine broke the fast. You couldn’t ingest anything at all without breaking the fast.

The result of this was that many people simply didn’t receive Holy Communion every week.

Yes…This is true. Of course things are quite different today. In those days there were more priests available so their individual workloads were perhaps not so heavy as they are today. Also I think that in general these things were held more strictly than they are today.
Like I said, today if there is a problem the family would simply discuss it with the priest and, in all likelihood receive a dispensation regarding whatever the matter is.

If you liked that story you will like a similar one about My Grandfather who, when he was young (circa 1910-15) would accompany the priest (again, walking) - from the parish house up to the convent to serve a 6:00 am mass for the nuns.
This convent is at the top of a substantial hill and the total walk was probably better than 2 miles each way. He did this at least once a week for probably several years.
I was blessed to have such a man as my Grandfather.

Peace
James

Breaking the 3-hr fast was a good excuse to use if you were in mortal sin or something. :wink:

the one hour fast isn’t long enough. And sadly, I know several catholics who do not follow it.
They drink coffee and eat breakfast like, 5 minutes before church starts.

I wonder why there is so little penance required of catholics anymore?

Because we should be able to put on our big boy and girl panties and jolly well figure at least some of it out on our own!

Did the Apostles need to be told how many hours to fast, or what days to abstain, or whathaveyou? No. They did plenty of fasting and abstaining regardless, and voluntarily. Because they knew it wasn’t an option but a requirement.

We need the same attitude.

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