Tag Archives: Easter Duty Law

How Many Times a Day Can We Receive Holy Communion?

Image Source: Johnragai
Image Source: flickr/Johnragai

I’ve never really thought much about this as I have found myself many times before attending mass and receiving Holy Communion more than once a day. I am daily mass goer of the 7 am mass in our church specifically after bringing my children to school located beside it. That pretty much accounts for the first mass and the first receipt of Holy Communion. There are days however that there will be scheduled activities that will include the celebration of the mass in our community, my children’s school, or special occasions like weddings and the like. Here then enters the possibility of another mass and another chance to receive holy communion within the same day.

I have just recently come into the fact that the Catholic Church actually imposes a limitation on the number of times a person can receive the Holy Communion in a day although there is no prohibition in the number of masses that can be heard for the same day. This is to ensure that the faithful lives a balanced spiritual life that does not border on the extremes. In other words, this is to prevent people from using the act of receiving the host as a temporary “fix” apart from the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Their essence cannot be separated.

As per the 1983 Code of Canon Law, a person who has already received the Holy Communion for the day can receive it again (iterum) on the same day provided it is within the Eucharistic celebration in which he or she participates. The recipient of the sacrament twice over for the same day must have attended the mass from start to finish and not simply appear in time for communion and then leave. The Church makes it clear that the provision is for allowing a person to receive communion again and not “again and again” for the same day.

Also, there is a reminder of the ample preparation before receiving communion including the need to go to confession if necessary as well as the usual fasting from food and water at least an hour before. There are exceptions to these guiding laws. A person in danger of death can be given communion even outside the context of a Holy Mass. Fasting period is also reduced to a quarter of an hour for sick people.

It is worth noting that the Catholic Church requires a faithful to receive Holy Communion at least once a year. This is known as the Easter Duty Law. Catholics are required to avail of the sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion any day during the Easter Season. This period usually extends up to Pentecost Sunday or about 50 days after Easter.