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well this appears to be Catholic Curiosity Corner today so I have a question

Catholics are not suppose to eat 1 hour before going to communion. what happens if you eat lets say 45 minutes before? or 55 minutes? Do you have to sit out communion? Can you drink before Church? Why is there this rule before communion but not after?


Asked by Anonymous at 2:34 PM on Jun. 26, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • The one-hour Eucharistic fast refers to an hour prior to the reception of Holy Communion, not an hour prior to the beginning of Mass - so as someone pointed out if Communion is about 45 minutes into the Mass and it takes 15 minutes to drive to church unless you're eating right before Mass most people are OK.

    This actually started way back in the second century when a theologian of the early Church (Tertullian) taught that the Eucharist is to be taken "before all food," as a sign of its excellence. It's meant to help Catholics prepare for the awesome privilege of receiving Christ' Body and Blood (not that it will make it more powerful).

    The fast is a discipline not a doctrine - we don't think Jesus ordered us to fast, but more that it's a good way for us to prepare for receiving the Eucharist. As a discipline it can (and has) changed over time. It use to be a much longer fast - now it's just an hour.

    Answer by eringobrough at 5:59 PM on Jun. 26, 2009

  • If I recall from my Catholic is to fast for one hour before Communion. However, the Catholic Mass is about an hour (or more if there's lots of singing or the Homily goes on and on) and Communion is near the end of the fasting for an hour really isn't that difficult.

    Answer by MamaK88 at 3:14 PM on Jun. 26, 2009

  • I went to Catholic school, and we attended Mass every day. That practice of fasting before Communion is so that one receives the Eucharist on an empty stomach and it can have a stronger effect on you . This is exactly like when you take homeopathic medicine - the less interfering substances you have going on, the more open you are to the healing effects of the Eucharist at Communion.

    This practice, especially as a requirement, was largely dropped by the 70's. The same with the practice of eating no meat on Fridays in honor of Christ's crucifixion.

    Answer by waldorfmom at 3:53 PM on Jun. 26, 2009

  • Why is it a good way to prepare for the Eucharist?

    Answer by teamquinn at 9:13 PM on Jun. 26, 2009

  • Because for Catholic the Eucharist isn't a symbol - it is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. For us this is the important message in John Chapter 6. Christ is present at the Mass.

    In the Old Testament people fasted before coming into God's presence or doing a special job for Him. For example, Elijah fasted on the way to Mount Horeb to meet God. Moses fasted when he received the Ten Commandments. So we follow this tradition and fast before encountering Christ in the Eucharist. Also the act of consciously abstaining from food or drink for one hour before receiving the Eucharist prepares the minds and hearts of the faithful to receive Christ. Fasting is a physical action that places focus and attention on the Eucharistic sacrifice of Christ.

    Answer by eringobrough at 12:28 PM on Jun. 27, 2009