Receiving Eucharist multiple times in a day

I’ve seen a few threads about this already, but it’s a subject that intrigues me. It seems that the general rule according to canon law is that you can receive Eucharist twice in one day, provided certain circumstances are met (second time must be in context of a Mass, etc). I assume that this is a law put in place to prevent people from treating the Eucharist with superstition by receiving as many times as possible.

The reason I’m interested by this is because I belong to a large parish in which I am one of the go-to Cantors for weekend Masses. In normal circumstances I sing one Mass on Saturday evening and two on Sunday morning, and I’ve been receiving Communion each time. Technically that means I’m within the “limit” of twice a calendar day. But then there may be times when I fill in for another singer during another Sunday Mass in addition to my usual two, and then my schedule gets even more crowded during Christmas - two Christmas Eve Masses (in addition to two in the morning if Christmas Eve is a Sunday!), then Midnight Mass, then another two Christmas Morning Masses.

Up until this point I’ve only known about any sort of “communion limit” very vaguely, and it was usually in the context of personal opinions and not canon law. As such, I haven’t usually prevented myself from receiving during any Mass I participate in if I get the chance to.

Now I highly doubt that God is automatically offended if we happen to receive the gift of the Body and Blood of His Son more than a specified number of times a day, but I do recognize that the limit was put in place to make sure our hearts and minds are in the right place when receiving the Eucharist. Do you think that receiving too many times in one day (for someone in my sort of situation) can damage one’s appreciation for the sacrament? I want to make sure I give Christ’s Body and Blood their due reverence, but I don’t want to get caught up in the technicalities of it either. Thoughts?

There is some myth that you have to receive at every Mass you attend. That is completely untrue. You only have to receive the Eucharist once a year, and it doesn’t even have to be in the context of a Mass.

Receiving when you are not allowed to is a mortal sin. So, if you cantor for three Masses in a day, the third time you receive, you incur mortal sin. It is not necessary to receive more than once in a day, because the Eucharist you receive is actually good for 24 hours.

God will be offended if you receive when you aren’t allowed to. Canon Law applies to everyone, including cantors.

You may receive twice in one day if the second is at mass. Do not receive more than twice. You may only do so if it is Viaticum and you are dying. Do not presume that you may disregard Church law on the matter or that it does not apply to you. It is not a “technicality”. Knowingly disregarding Church law is a willful act of disobedience and should be confessed.

Alright, I should probably rephrase my last paragraph there. Now that I’m aware that it’s an actual canon law I will follow it - but I don’t want to just follow the letter and leave it at that. I wanted to start a conversation about why the limit exists and what it should mean for how I form my attitude toward the Eucharist.

In times of old, people would go from Mass to Mass to receive over and over, but without attending the entire Mass. The canon was intended to stop this practice, IMSC.



Also, before 1983, you could only receive once a day, unless it was Viaticum. The 1983 Code of Canon Law allows you to receive a 2nd time at a Mass.

The Eucharist doesn’t really expire 24 hours later. Indeed, one communication can be good for the whole year if it needs to be, in the case of someone who is isolated or impeded from receiving frequently. We are only bound to receive once in a year and even that is a mere disciplinary law.

There is no limit on God’s graces. For someone who is habitually attending more than one Mass a day, I would say to receive at the first one and make it good for the rest of the day. There is no need to always receive twice. God and His Church will understand perfectly well.

I meant in normal circumstances. :thumbsup:

Did they fast 3 hours each time before receiving, I wonder? :slight_smile:

A possible answer is offered by this ewtn article,

A third Mass and receiving Communion a third time on the same day appears NOT to be in conformity to the spirit of the law nor to current practice and interpretation. As stated before, the fear of multiplying “Communions” as if one could QUANTIFY grace and the infinite value of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, led the Church to restrict reception to twice a day.

BTW, there are no limits to spiritual communions.

No, I do not think God is offended of we were to receive the Most Holy Eucharist more than twice a day. However, I believe God is** very much offended** if we know that teachings of the Church and choose to disobey them. That would be beyond irreverent and would be gravely sinful.

Confirmed to me by a priest, unless you had received at a wedding or funeral setting you may only receive once per day. Ex:You may receive at a wedding and then Sunday mass but not twice a day at mass.

That’s not what canon law says. It doesn’t mention anything about a wedding or funeral. Perhaps he was giving an example of a circumstance in which one might receive twice in one day.

Last year, on Ash Wednesday, I attended Mass in the morning at a neighborhood parish. In the evening, I attended the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, which is a Byzantine Rite Lenten service. Traditionally, we don’t have the Divine Liturgy on weekdays during Lent. We have the Presanctified Liturgy, which is basically Vespers, with a Communion Service added on. At any rate, I wasn’t sure if I could receive, as the second service was not Mass or a sacrificial Divine Liturgy. My priest assured me that I could receive Holy Communion.

Another example: I went to Mass in the morning, then went to the hospital and had a baby. Later that day, the chaplain came by my room and offered to give me communion. Since I was not attending Mass at the time, I was not able to receive. If, however, I had received communion in the hospital in the morning, been released, and gone to Mass later that day, it would have been acceptable to receive.

If in doubt, though, it is best not to receive, I would think. We don’t have to receive Communion every time we are at Mass.

Either you misunderstood or the priest mispoke. Here is the relevant canon.

Can. 917 A person who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can receive it a second time on the same day only within the eucharistic celebration in which the person participates, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 921, §2.

Canon Law does not say that. It say that you may receive twice in a day, provided the second time is at a Mass. It makes no mention of funerals or weddings.

Canon 917:

Qui sanctissimam Eucharistiam iam receipt, potest eam iterum eadem die suscipere solummodo intra eucharisticam celebrationem cui participat.

This question seems to pop up time and time again. Rather than repeat myself, I’ll simply make reference to previous discussions. For example [thread=497760]here[/thread] and [thread=815183]here[/thread], among others.

Interesting that you bring that up. During one of the other recent threads that veered into the multiple-communion issue, I posed the question to a priest friend of mine who is a very well respected Canon Lawyer. His answer was exactly what you say: the intent of canon 917 is that, under normal circumstances, a person should not receive more than once on a given day. The built-in exception is meant to accommodate weddings, funerals, memorial Masses, etc.

That might be also why it says that one must ‘participate’ in Mass as well (at least once, if not both times…). To my research and understanding, participation does not mean assisting at Mass; it means attending Mass and participating in it (even in the pews). One is not allowed to attend a Communion service (which I’ve never been to) twice in one day, in my recollection.

Assisting at Mass and participating at Mass are the same thing.

But participating and assisting are not…a server can assist and participate (hopefully!). I can sit in a pew and participate, but not assist. Assisting at Mass involves being on the Altar…no??? Am I misunderstanding this?

I have a particular scenario that I recently encountered and I would love to hear from others to make sure that I explained it correctly to my sons, so I hope those with a better understanding of Cannon law will help me out here.

My son’s are both altar servers and served a 10am Saturday funeral, an 11:30am Saturday funeral and then attended the Sunday Vigil with us as a family on Saturday evening at 5:15pm. (Yes, the Pastor joked that they were at more Masses that day than he was!LOL!I’m pretty sure he wants one or both of them to consider the Priesthood ;)) I was pretty sure that since they were participating AND assisting/serving at both of the morning Mass’ that it was canonically allowable for them to receive Communion both times (thanks to this and other threads on CAF!). I also reasoned that since the Saturday evening Mass was a Vigil Mass for Sunday, that it was technically ‘another day’ and therefore they could receive Communion again when we went to Mass as a family (they did not act as Altar Servers at that Mass). After rolling it around in my head as we prepared to head out the door for the two morning funerals (one of which was a double funeral for two people!) I sort of threw my hands up and said, “Ask Father! He’s the one who is trained in this sort of thing!LOL”
Father told them that the rule/law that I was thinking of was outdated and no longer applied. :confused: Maybe my boys didn’t ask the question in the right way, who knows.
So, if someone assists in Mass twice in one day and then attends a Vigil Mass, they are not bound by the ‘receive twice in one day’ law, since the third Reception is a Vigil that technically counts for Sunday…right?

I’m not trying to be scrupulous or anything, I am just trying to help my children understand the rules and responsibilities surrounding the reception of Holy Communion and to help them avoid scrupulosity (which one of my children who already lives with OCD just might have to deal with someday).

Of course I understand the rationale behind the guidelines, and will explain that to my children as well, I just want to make sure I have the facts down so that I can explain it all from a place of knowledge and authority…so any help/backup anyone can give is much appreciated! :thumbsup:

hsmomforlife, the specifics are:

**CIC Canon 1247
**Die dominica aliisque diebus festis de praecepto fideles obligatione tenentur Missam participandi; …

On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass; …
CIC Canon 917
**Qui sanctissimam Eucharistiam iam receipt, potest eam iterum eadem die suscipere solummodo intra eucharisticam celebrationem cui participat, salvo praescripto can. 921, § 2.
One who has received the blessed Eucharist may receive it again on the same day only within a eucharistic celebration in which that person participates, without prejudice to the provision of can. 921 §2.
**Catechism of the Catholic Church **1388 It is in keeping with the very meaning of the Eucharist that the faithful, if they have the required dispositions, receive communion each time they participate in the Mass. [Cf. CIC, can. 917; AAS 76 (1984) 746-747] As the Second Vatican Council says: “That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest’s communion, receive the Lord’s Body from the same sacrifice, is warmly recommended.” [SC 55]

**For Priests****CIC Canon 919 ******§2

**Sacerdos, qui eadem die bis aut ter sanctissimam Eucharistiam celebrat, aliquid sumere potest ante secundam aut tertiam celebrationem, etiamsi non intercesserit spatium unius horae.

**A priest who, on the same day, celebrates the blessed Eucharist twice or three times may consume something before the second or third celebration, even though there is not an hour’s interval.

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