What is the Holy Eucharist?
The Sacrament of the Eucharist is the source and summit and life of the Catholic Church, as well as the sacrament of unity among Christ, its head, and his members. Through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s words of Institution, bread and wine become the sacramental Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This sacrament is seen as the culmination of the Sacraments of Initiation, although for various reasons the reception of Sacrament of Confirmation for the youth has been moved to the age of adolescence. Children who are baptized in the Catholic faith typically receive First Holy Communion around the age of reason (7 years old).
Who can receive Holy Communion?
Children who are baptized in the Catholic faith typically receive First Holy Communion around the age of reason (7 years old). Information on our Parishes First Holy Communion process can be obtained by contacting Jen Pearson, DRE for Ascension Parish at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting Danielle O’Neill, DRE for St. Katharine Drexel Parish at email@example.com.
What are some guidelines for the reception of Holy Communion?
- Eucharistic Fast—Those who wish to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist must abstain from any food or drink except for water or medicine for at least one hour prior to receiving Holy Communion. Please note that the one-hour fast is based on the last consumption of food or drink to the time of reception of Holy Communion, not the time the Mass begins. (Code of Canon Law, Canon 919 §1, §3)
- Guidelines for the Reception of Holy Communion—On November 14, 1996, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the following guidelines on the reception of Communion. These guidelines replace the guidelines approved by the Administrative Committee of the NCCB in November 1986. The guidelines, which are to be included in missalettes and other participation aids published in the United States, seek to remind all those who may attend Catholic liturgies of the present discipline of the Church with regard to the sharing of Eucharistic Communion.
- For Catholics—As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all.
- For Our Fellow Christians—We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us “that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21). Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon 844 §4). Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of Communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 §3).
- For Those Not Receiving Holy Communion—All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another.
- For Non-Christians—We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family. © 1996, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Can I request a home visit to receive Holy Communion?
Yes, you can request a home visit to receive Holy Communion. Call the parish office at 570-785-3838 and we can set a visit up for you. Eucharistic Ministers visit the homebound weekly.