Unique Fast Question

I’m a 22 year old college student. My wonderful devout 24 year old girlfriend and I attend the Extraordinary Rite Mass at a local cathedral.

The Mass time is 1:30 in the afternoon, due to the Ordinary Rite masses being said during the morning.

We prefer the traditional Catholic requirements, including the all-day fast before Holy Communion, instead of the hour-long fast.

Since Mass is so late in the day, may we eat something in the morning? By the time Mass rolled around, we’d be so hungry we’d be unable to concentrate!


Well, technically you only have to fast an hour before recieving Communion, so yes, you can eat breakfast, although at that point you will no longer be practicing all day fasts. But hey, at least you will be practicing several hours of fasting :slight_smile:

Yeah, I think the all-day fasts are no longer required for present-day Tridentine Masses.

In the 1950s or so the Communion fast requirement was changed from midnight at any rate - and not to one hour, but to three hours. The midnight fast was workable only because all Masses were required to be said before noon at the time. And the change to one hour only came a bit later.

So if you want something that is still traditional, and more in line with the mind of the Church (which was never that people fast past noon on Sundays), then three hours prior to reception might be a good choice.

Of course you’re welcome to do longer, as we all are and most of us manage to do.

the Church has established a minimal period of fast to remember us to hunger for our Lord before receiving Him. You’re more than free to extend the fast to help you prayerfully hunger for Him.

In 1953 Pope Pius XII loosened the Eucharistic fast for Masses celebrated after noon: “Priests who say afternoon Masses, as well as the faithful who receive Holy Communion at these Masses, may, at the meal which is permitted up to three hours before the beginning of Mass or Communion, take with due moderation the alcoholic beverages which are ordinarily taken at meals, (for example, wine, beer, and the like). They may not take strong liquors. With regard to beverages, which can be taken before or after the above-mentioned meal, up to one hour before Mass or Communion, everything alcoholic is excluded.” ( 13Christus Dominus)

Then, in 1957, he loosened the fast even further: “Priests and faithful, before Holy Mass or Holy Communion respectively, must abstain for three hours from solid foods and alcoholic liquids, for one hour from non- alcoholic liquids. Water does not break the fast.” ( 2Sacram Communionem) He also said that “the fast must be observed for the period of time indicated in n. 2, even by those who celebrate or receive Holy Communion at midnight or in the first hours of the day.” ( 3Sacram Communionem)

In other words, a three-hour fast before receiving Holy Communion was the “traditional” fast at the time of Vatican II. Fasting from midnight on is great, if you can do it – maybe even meritorious, I don’t know – but Pope Pius XII had loosened that to only three hours.

Don’t ever fall in the trap of feeling that what you personally prefer is somehow better than what the Church actually demands.

If you want to keep the fast from midnight on or 3 hours before Mass as a personal tradition, that is wonderful. But it is in no way better or more efficacious than the required one hour fast.

Most trads I know use the 3-hour fast.

Three hours from when Mass starts, not like the current rule which prescribes 1 hour before receiving communion… meaning don’t eat during Mass.

A great priest I used to know always had a saying for those of us fond of Traditional Catholicism (as he was himself). He used to remind us that “No one is holier than the Church,” meaning that if the Church says to fast for one hour, you may fast longer but it is never a sin to do so.

Maybe we could offer up to God our desire to fast longer, and not fast in a spirit of obedience and love.

Kinda radical, huh?

I don’t get it. :smiley:

Fasting longer than the Church requires isn’t disobedience nor an act against love or charity. Perhaps a person gains a greater spiritual benefit by fasting for three hours than for one hour. (It’s difficult to not fast for an hour before receiving Communion, unless you’re eating on the way to Mass.)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.