Weekly Communion

A protestant family member asked me where in scripture it says that “communion” is to be received weekly on the Sabbath. His church will distribute communion every six weeks or so and it is “consecrated” but is only seen as a symbol of Christ as bread and wine. i.e. no transubstantiation.

I explained that Sacred Scripture is not the only authority on matters of faith in Catholicism but that Sacred Tradition is as well. I mentioned that there is an “early church fathers” document called the Didache and that it was evidence of the earliest traditions by the early church for Weekly Eucharist. Am I on on track here? Are there other references to the Early Church Fathers I could share with him?

I am not trying to convince him to be Catholic…that is for the Holy Spirit…but I did appreciate his inquiry into our practice of receiving the Eucharist on Sundays (and even daily). I’d like to be able to continue the conversation with him. Thanks for any help you can offer.

Well, in actuality, we offer the Eucharistic sacrifice daily (excepting Good Friday) in the Mass, not weekly.

And, where in Scripture does it say to do it every six weeks? Is not their choice to have communion every six weeks as much a tradition (little t) as any other?

Where in Scripture does it prohibit daily and weekly communion?

Scripture says in 1 Corinthians “…as often as” you do this, you do it in memory of me. So, every time we offer the Mass, which is every day, we “do it” in memory of him.

Thanks for the answer. I am aware that we offer the Sacrifice of the Mass daily around the world. However, Catholics typically attend Mass and receive the Eucharist on Sundays/Sabbath. This family member is making a comparison to his own practices in his Church and he asked a simple question about why Catholics traditionally receive the “Communion” weekly? Naturally as a protestant he assumed that it would have to be based on Scripture. We have Tradition and that often guides our faith practices and compliments Sacred Scripture, each as the revealed Word of God. I am just looking for some early church evidence of receiving the Eucharist on the Sabbath as a tradition since weekly “Communion” isn’t explicitly stated in Sacred Scripture.

Yeah, except his own practice (every 6 weeks) isn’t based on Scripture, so why would he “have to assume” ours is?

In Christ,

yes, I agree. He would say that he could participate in communion as often or as little as he would like and that each church makes up it’s own mind based on its own traditions. (Little t.)

His question came from a situation where I was bringing the Eucharist to a homebound parishioner. I do so every Sunday. This Sunday, I invited him to come with me. Afterwards, he asked “why do we receive the Eucharist every Sunday? Why not less frequently? Is there some stipulation in the Bible that says Eucharist every Sunday?”

I answered that we can receive daily or less frequently depending on whether we are in a state of mortal sin or not (and thus need to go to confession first). I also told him that I believed that the early Church participated in the Eucharist on the Sabbath (weekly) and thus it has been a Tradition since (even though we could receive more often or less). I am looking for info on any Early Church Documents/letters that talk about receiving the Eucharist weekly on the Sabbath. He seemed doubtful that the early Church did this.

Remember, it’s not a double standard if you get to make the standard.

Again, I agree. You are preaching to the choir here. Thing is, that for a lot of protestants to make their own reformed church as “valid” or more “valid” than the Catholic Church, they have to re-work Early Church history. This seems to be the drive behind his question. In other words, “If they didn’t receive communion on a weekly basis in the early Church, and it’s not in scripture, then why is it the regular practice of the Catholic Church now?”

I’d like to give him some early Church letters or documents that mentions Eucharist every Sabbath.

Do you know of any?

We may receive weekly communion because we are required to attend mass weekly on Sunday. It’s that simple. In every mass we celebrate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross in the Eucharist. It is always present in a mass. So therefore, if we go weekly, then it follows that we may receive weekly.

We are not required to receive weekly, especially if we are not in a state of grace. And I think some people miss that part of attending mass. But if we are in a state of grace, why not receive? It is also a sacrament for us, and strengthens us in grace.

That’s the difference between what protestants do and what Catholics do. Protestants call it a symbol and don’t believe anything else is behind it. Catholics believe it IS the body and blood of Christ in the real presence, and that it strengthens us in grace.

Explain to your friend that the celebration of the Eucharist, where we re-present the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (not re-sacrifice Him, there is a difference), is an integral part of the mass. There is no mass without the Eucharist. That is different from what protestants do as well, as it is not usually part of their services. If we attend mass weekly, we are going to have the option to receive Him every week in mass.

Very well said. Thanks. Your reply is helpful

Precepts of the Church

  1. To hear Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation.

  2. To receive the Blessed Eucharist at Easter or within the time appointed.

The Church gives the minimum that we should do. Of course, you could site the Our Father where it says “give us this day our daily bread”.


Look for Justin Martyr’s letters where he explains what happens in mass. It was written in the mid 2nd century, about 150 AD. Justin wrote it to a Roman official to explain what happens in christian celebrations. It mentions celebration of the Eucharist, and actually contains most of the parts of the mass as we still celebrate it today.

Also, as a suggestion, don’t play their argument on their terms. Catholics don’t do things from scripture only, as we have the Tradition that was passed on to us from the Apostles as well as what it says in scripture. As many posters have mentioned, ask him where his church service is mentioned in the bible. And then ask him where the bible comes from to begin with, and explain to him the Catholic church cannonized the bible to begin with.


But that isn’t the right question.

It is not about receiving weekly. We receive whenever we attend Mass, daily or weekly, as long as we are in a state of grace.

The question would be why the Eucharist is confected at every Mass, really.

Unless celebrating it every 6 weeks is based in Scripture, he has no argument.

Well, there is certainly evidence that the early Christians gathered for the breaking of bread (i.e. the Eucharist) on the first day of the week. There are numerous references to the assembly on the first day of the week.

Thanks everyone. This is very helpful.

Good luck!

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.