Faith/Spirituality Forum: Preparing to receive the Host
Preparing to receive the Host QUESTION from Grace Hawthorne August 20, 2001 I have been Catholic my entire life. I was recently confronted by one of my relatives during mass when I reached into my purse and pulled out a breath mint prior to receiving the Host. He chastized me for consuming anything for up to one hour before receiving the Host, and told me that I should not partake.
Obviously, I was thoroughly embarassed - I am 45 years old and my parents never even mentioned fasting prior to mass. I did look through my copy of the Catechism, and I found one reference to fasting prior to receiving the Host (article 1387), but it was not specific. I know that this is probably a simple question, but it is a very emotional one for me. My parents were always enforcing the Catholic rules and we never knew if they were church doctrine, or traditions from our parrish.
Can you give me any information on this topic???????
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on August 27, 2001 Dear Mrs. Hawthorne:
Unfortunately there are several generations of people who have been so poorly taught the Catholic faith that we would have to classify them as illiterate. It is not their fault -- initially. It is the fault of the incompetent or lazy or careless or deliberately maliciuos people who were responsible for teaching the kids the faith, but didn't.
But, that cannot be used as an excuse. We all need to take responsibility for ourselves and LEARN what we were never taught as children. That is one reason for this Q & A Forum -- to bring people up to speed on Church teaching.
I am sorry that you were never taught the truth of Church teaching on this. But it is not too late, you are to be praised for coming to a forum like this to find out the real scoop.
Canon Law #919.1 says:
A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion form any food and drink, except for only water and medicine. This practice, which began after the 3rd Century is a means of spiritual preparatoin for the Eucharist and is a way of showing reverence for Jesus in the Sacrament.
I understand why you may want to take a breath mint, but you need to do that one hour before communion.
By the way, this is one hour before actual COMMUNION, not one hour before Mass starts. So if Mass starts at 11:00 am but actual communion does not take place until 11:45 then the one hour manditory fast begin at 10:45.
Also, the legistation says that we are to fast for at least one hour. The Church is obviously encouraging a longer fast. But a longer fast is up to the person. The one hour is REQUIRED.
If one does eat any food or drink anything but water in less than an hour from taking communion, then the person MUST abstain from communion during that Mass.
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