Receiving communion twice in one day

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Catechism of the Catholic Church

"1388 It is in keeping with the very meaning of the Eucharist that the faithful, if they have the required dispositions, receive communion when they participate in the Mass. As the Second Vatican Council says: 'That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's Body from the same sacrifice, is warmly recommended'" (CCC 1388).

Excerpts from Canon Law

Code of Canon Law.

Can. 917 A person who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can receive it a second time on the same day only within the eucharistic celebration in which the person participates, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 921, §2.

  • Communion can be received twice.
  • The person receiving Communion twice must participate in two full Masses, except for those in danger of death who receive Viaticum as part of the Rite of Anointing (can. 921, §2).

Can. 918 It is highly recommended that the faithful receive holy communion during the eucharistic celebration itself. It is to be administered outside the Mass, however, to those who request it for a just cause, with the liturgical rites being observed.

Can. 919 §1. A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from any food and drink, except for only water and medicine.

§2. A priest who celebrates the Most Holy Eucharist two or three times on the same day can take something before the second or third celebration even if there is less than one hour between them.

§3. The elderly, the infirm, and those who care for them can receive the Most Holy Eucharist even if they have eaten something within the preceding hour.

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.

Can. 921 §1. The Christian faithful who are in danger of death from any cause are to be nourished by holy communion in the form of Viaticum.

§2. Even if they have been nourished by holy communion on the same day, however, those in danger of death are strongly urged to receive communion again.

  • Those who receive Viaticum as part of the Rite of Anointing of the Sick are not obliged to do so as part of a Mass, even if it is the second time they receive that day. The obligation to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist only applies to those receiving Communion for a second time in the same day for other legitimate reasons.

§3. While the danger of death lasts, it is recommended that holy communion be administered often, but on separate days.

"Required dispositions"

What are the "required dispositions" referred to in the Catechism (CCC 1388)?

  • Awareness that Communion once a day is the preferred norm. Jesus Himself is our "daily bread." If we prepare well for Communion and pay attention to the Divine Guest of our soul, once a day is sufficient to nourish us spiritually for the whole day.
  • Possible reasons for attending two Masses and therefore taking Communion twice:
    • Serving in an official capacity at two Masses (music ministry, Eucharistic minister, lector, usher, teacher, etc.).
    • Attending a wedding and/or a funeral after serving at a parish Mass.

What the Church wants to avoid is an abuse of the Sacrament by overly pious Catholics who do not understand that Jesus abides in our souls at all times through Baptism and that the graces given in a single devout daily Communion are more than enough for our spiritual welfare. It is false to think that Jesus leaves us when our time of Communion comes to an end and that we should therefore hurry to receive Him again and again from morning until evening; far from it! His spiritual Communion with us abides even when His sacramental presence is complete.