Saturday, May 17, 2020 –
We have talked about **WHAT** the Eucharist is. Now we are going to start getting into the more “mechanical” side of things:
Do I have to receive the Eucharist at Mass?
No. Your participation at Mass is NOT contingent upon you receiving the Eucharist. Likewise, your participation is NOT contingent upon you having a “job.” Your only requirement for Mass is to show up and pray at the foot of the Cross.
How often am I required to receive the Eucharist?
The short answer is at least once a year during the Easter season. Of course, many of us are currently dispensed from Mass, which also means we are dispensed from reception of the Eucharist.
The longer answer can be found in Canon Law and the Precepts of the Church. The Precepts of the Church are the moral and ecclesiastical rules prescribed for Catholics. Specifically, there is one for the Sacrament of the Eucharist:
The Precepts of the Church regarding the Eucharist (CCC 2042):
The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor”) requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.
The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year”) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.
The third precept (“You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season”) guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.
Can 920 §1. After being initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, each of the faithful is obliged to receive Holy Communion at least once a year.
§2. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season unless it is fulfilled for a just cause at another time during the year.
These precepts remind us to take part in Mass on Sundays and Holy days. We keep these days holy and avoid unnecessary work. This makes sure you take time to be with Jesus and your parish community. It strengthens your faith, rests your body, and encourages you to enjoy the world God has given you. We are also asked, at a bare minimum, to receive Holy Communion at least once a year during Easter time. This strengthens your faith and makes you one with Jesus. It guarantees a minimum reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts.
What if I haven’t made my first Penance? Can I receive the Eucharist?
No, sorry. “Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time” (CCC 1457).This goes for adults too.
How often can I receive the Eucharist?
You can receive the Eucharist up to two times in a day during the course of Mass. (Can 917) You cannot, however, receive the Eucharist outside of Mass more than once with the exception of Viaticum. For example, you cannot receive the Eucharist at Mass, then receive it again at a Communion Service (not a Mass).
How many times can I receive the Eucharist in a day?
Again, you can receive the Eucharist up to two times in a day during the course of Mass (Can 917). See previous question.
What is “viaticum”?
Viaticum is the Eucharist given to you if you are dying or are in danger of death. In this case, a priest may administer the Eucharist to you even if you have already received the Holy Eucharist at Mass (Can. 921).
Does the Eucharist really get rid of venial sin?
Yes! One of the Fruits of the Eucharist is the forgiveness of venial sins (CCC1394). It does not, however, get rid of mortal sins. The Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sin because the more we share in the life of Christ, the better choices we make and the more difficult it becomes for us to turn away from Him (CCC 1395)
Does the Eucharist get rid of mortal sin?
No. “Individual and integral confession of grave sins followed by absolution remains the only ordinary means of reconciliation with God and with the Church” (CCC 1497)
Saint Faustina, pray for us!