How Often Can We Receive Communion in One Day?

Fr. Mike Lagrimas forwarded this very important information, the Canon on receiving receiving Communion.  It is worth sharing, please pass it along to friends. -Reynor

HOW OFTEN CAN WE RECEIVE COMMUNION IN ONE DAY?

Canon 917 – One who has received the blessed Eucharist may receive it again on the same day only within a Eucharistic celebration in which that person participates, without prejudice to the provision of can. 921, §2.

Can. 917 – Qui sanctissimam Eucharistiam iam recepit, potest eam iterum eadem die suscipere solummodo intra eucharisticam celebrationem cui participat, salvo praescripto can. 921, §2.

Canon 921, §1 – Christ’s faithful who are in danger of death, from whatever cause, are to be strengthened by Holy Communion as Viaticum.

§2 – Even if they have already received Holy Communion that same day, it is nevertheless strongly suggested that in danger of death they should communicate again.

Commentary on Canon 917 – The possibility of receiving communion a second time in the same day (cf. S. Congr. For the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instr. Immensae Caritatis 2, 29-01-1973, AAS 65 [1973] 267-268; CLD 8 [1973-1977] 480-482) can only exist within the Mass, since the reasons that justify this are found precisely in the circumstances that characterize this celebration (for example: the fulfillment of the Sunday obligation on the previous evening, evening Mass on Holy Thursday, the second Mass on Easter, ritual Masses, funerals, etc.).

The case in which there is danger of death is omitted, as it is addressed directly in canon 921.

The expression “iterum” used in the canon should be interpreted as only one more time on the same day, and not as often as one participates at a Mass (CPI/84-89, Response of 11-07-1984, AAS 76 [1984] 746; CLD 11 [1983-1985] 208; cf. appendix II*).

*Appendix IIQuestion on canon 917 – Whether, according to canon 917, one who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist, may receive it on the same day only a second time, or as often as one participates in the celebration of the Eucharist?

Response: Affirmative to the first; negative to the second.

Explanations:

  1. The Holy Eucharist is not an ordinary food; it is the Body of Christ, the food that comes down from heaven and gives us spiritual nourishment and eternal salvation (“He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have everlasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”). As such, therefore, receiving communion once a day during a Eucharistic celebration gives us enough graces for that day. Hence, receiving communion more than once a day is not anymore necessary. More so, receiving communion more than once a day on a regular basis could pose danger to our faith, as for instance, the loss of respect and reverence for this sublime sacrament. “The objective of the new legislation is to promote active participation in the celebration of the Mass and to prevent possible abuses such as the repeated reception of the Eucharist out of misguided devotion, habit or superstition” (Fr. Testera, OP, Canon Law Digest).
  1. However, the Church allows communion a second time during the day, but only for specified cases. These are:
    1. on Holy Thursday, when a person attends the Chrism Mass, and then participates also in the Evening of the Lord’s Supper Mass;
    2. when one attends the Easter Vigil Mass and participates also in the Easter Sunday Mass;
    3. when one goes to Mass on that day and receives communion as Viaticum on that same day, as mentioned in canon 921, §2;
    4. when one goes to Mass on Saturday, and then attends the anticipated (Vigil) Sunday Mass in the evening of that Saturday;
    5. when one attends another Mass wherein there is the Ordination to the Priesthood or a Solemn Profession of Vows of a religious;
    6. when one attends another Mass which is a ritual Mass (a celebration of a sacrament within the Mass: e.g. Baptism, Confirmation, Wedding, et al), or a funeral Mass.
  1. The practice of receiving communion as often as one participates in a Eucharistic celebration is clearly prohibited. The key word in the canon is “iterum”. It is not “iterumque”. The meaning is “only one more time on the same day”. The maximum number of times one may receive communion in one day is twice, but only on the abovementioned cases. Only priests are allowed to receive communion as often as they preside or concelebrate in the Mass. Deacons who assist at Mass can receive communion no more than twice. If he assists in three Masses in one day, he is allowed to receive communion only in two Masses.

Main Sources:

CODE OF CANON LAW, ANNOTATED.  E. Caparros, M. Thériault, J. Thorn, eds., Univ. of Navarra and St. Paul Univ., Wilson & Lafleur Limitée: Montréal, 1993.

CANON LAW DIGEST of the PHILIPPINE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Fr. Florencio Testera, O.P., UST Press: Manila, 1995. pp. 54-55.

1 comment for “How Often Can We Receive Communion in One Day?

  1. Louise Schwenke
    March 23, 2012 at 1:22 am

    I have a question. Im a Catholic. I have received baptism and holy Eucharist and im almost done with my confirmation. But I have a problem. I have no record of my holy Eucharist. I know the Priest that was present , the reverend and the year. I contacted the main Parish who holds records of Of the Church there was nothing logged in. Do I have to go through the process again?

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