Receiving communion twice in one day
Catechism of the Catholic Church
- 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."
- Cf. CIC, can. 916.
- Cf. CIC, can. 917; The faithful may recieve the Holy Eucharist only a second time on the same day [CF. Pontificia Commissio Codici Iuris Canonici Authentice Intrepretando, Responsa ad proposita dubia, 1:AAS 76 (1984) 746].
- SC 55.
Excerpts from Canon Law
In the following quotations, I have added emphasis in bold.
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 in one day.
- The person receiving Communion twice should 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.
Catholic Education Resource Center
- Fr. William Saunders, "How Many Times a Day May One Receive Communion?"
- Never, in ordinary circumstances, do we isolate the reception of Holy Communion from the rest of the Mass. The Church grants the permission of receiving Holy Communion twice in one day to meet those situations of a person attending perhaps a wedding Mass and a funeral Mass on the same day, or attending the regular daily Mass and then some special Mass the same day; nevertheless, the stipulation is that the person attends the whole Mass in both instances [emphasis added]. Unfortunately, I have known individuals who on a daily basis just "pop" into Mass (even Masses) at the right time to receive Holy Communion and then leave before Mass concludes; it is almost like they are getting their "Jesus fix" for the day rather than worshiping God and wholeheartedly receiving the Blessed Sacrament.
- As qualified in Canon 921, 2, in those special circumstances when a person is in danger of death, then he may receive Holy Communion as viaticum along with Penance and Anointing of the Sick, even though he may have received twice already that day. Another special circumstance arises when the person is confined in a hospital or homebound: here the person may receive outside the context of Mass, but would not receive more than once a day unless in danger of death.
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.