QUAERITUR: Can I receive Communion at two Masses in one day?

From a reader, a question that pops up every once in a while.  Adhering to the adage repetita iuvant, here is the question and response:

It used to be the rule that you could could go to Communion only once a day, a rule that is in itself sensible.

But I heard that this is now permitted for a sufficient reason.

I sing in the schola for the Ordinary Form at 7:00 am.

But then twice a month we have the Extraordinary Form at 10:30 am, which I like to attend in addition with my family.

Can I go to Communion at both?

 

The quick answer is YES, you may receive Holy Communion at both those Masses.

The 1983 Code of Canon Law says:

Can. 917 – Qui sanctissimam Eucharistiam iam recepit, potest eam iterum eadem die suscipere solummodo intra eucharisticam celebrationem cui participat, salvo praescripto Can. 921, § 2. … Someone who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can receive it again (iterum) on the same day only within the Eucharistic celebration [i.e. Mass] in which the person participates, with due regard for the prescription of can. 921 § 2.

Can. 921 § 2 says that if a person is in danger of death, he may receive Communion even it is not in the context of Mass.  That is Viaticum.

That iterum does not mean "again and again", but merely "again one more time".

Also, that "Eucharistic celebration" in the canon does not mean just any service involving Communion.  It means Mass. That was cleared up by the Holy See in an official response to a dubium.

So, say in the morning you were at a Novus Ordo Communion service wherein you received Communion, or a Mass in either Form.  Later in the day you stumble into a church where Mass was about to be celebrated and decided to stay for it.  At that Mass you could receive Communion again (iterum).  This would be even if you were, say, visiting a Maronite Catholic Church, or a Ukrainian Catholic Church and their Divine Liturgy was about to get under way. 

However, if you were at Holy Mass in the morning and then stumbled into a Communion service at a priest-less parish in the afternoon, you could NOT receive again because a Communion Service isn’t Mass.  If you were at Mass in the morning and then in the afternoon when you were visiting your auntie in the hospital when the chaplain came, you could not receive even if the priest invited you to do so (which in my opinion he should not).

Canon 917 tries to walk the line between promoting frequent reception of the Eucharist and a superstitious or excessive frequency, which I can assure you some people fall into.

The key here is that the second time must be during a Mass, unless it is as Viaticum and you may not enter the Mass at some late point merely in order to receive.

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8 Responses to QUAERITUR: Can I receive Communion at two Masses in one day?

  1. Oneros says:

    I believe canon law says that Viaticum may even be a THIRD communion in one day. [Yes, that was clear from what I wrote.]

    But, unless you’re dying, only twice, and the second time must be at Mass you attended (the first may either be at Mass or not). [Yes, that was clear from what I wrote.]

    I think it’s a sensible rule that isn’t so stringent as to prevent people from receiving communion at a second or unexpected Mass later in the day, but stops it from becoming too frequent, while also making provision for the dying. [Yes, that was clear from what I wrote.]

  2. wolfeken says:

    It should be at least noted that the discipline in place during the 1962 missal limits communion to once per day, except for Christmas (when one could communicate both at midnight and during the dawn or day Mass).

    I understand that law is no longer binding — there is no need to dwell upon it. But my point is that if someone is attempting to stay consistent with the discipline in place during 1962 (i.e. Ember Days, Lenten fast, midnight or three hour fast before communion, etc.) then it is at least important to point out communion was only permitted once daily when the traditional Latin Mass was ordinary.

    Personally I have never received twice in one day, even when singing at several Nuptial Masses.

  3. Well, considering all the times when I couldn’t receive Communion even once in a day (ie, broken fast, not reconciling with family members, and sin), I figure that if I can receive Communion twice every so often, I should probably do it and be thankful.

    OTOH, if you’re assisting at more than one Mass in a day on Sunday, particularly in a row, it can be a relief to know that you already received Communion at the first Mass and can therefore break your fast if you need to, without messing things up for the whole week.

    (And believe me, if I don’t receive Communion at least once a week, it makes an observable difference in my disposition. I don’t know how people managed, only receiving the Eucharist once a year, back in the really old day.)

  4. Jack Hughes says:

    suburbanbanshe

    I think they manged by making spiritual communion (something we should all do more often) as for the 1962 discipline I think that Traddy Catholics can and should recieve more the once a day (whilst following Cannon 917).

  5. jesusthroughmary says:

    I don’t understand why an attachment to the 1962 Missal means an attachment to 1962. Even if the Novus Ordo had never been promulgated, the Pope would still have promulgated the new Code of Canon Law in 1983 and the faithful would still be permitted to receive Communion twice a day, Psalm 42, Ember Days, three-hour fast and all. Tradition is not frozen in time, but is dynamic and forward-looking (lest we become Eastern Orthodox). This is a good thing, and so-called traditionalists should embrace the opportunity to commune twice, at least on occasion.

  6. Elly says:

    If one receives communion during a Saturday evening Mass to fulfill the Sunday obligation, does the communion count as a Saturday communion (so that he could still potentially receive twice on Sunday) or a Sunday communion because the Mass was for a Sunday obligation?

    Thanks!
    Elly

  7. Patrick50 says:

    Elly,

    As my paster has told me, and if I am wrong someone can tell me, If the mass is after 4:00pm on Saturdays, it counts as a Sunday communion. Hope this answers your question!

  8. dcs says:

    A “day” is ordinarily midnight to midnight in Canon Law, so if you receive at the anticipated Mass on Saturday it counts for Saturday. So if you received Holy Communion at morning Mass on Saturday, and then again at a Nuptial Mass on Saturday afternoon, you would not be able to receive at the anticipated Mass on Saturday evening. Hope this helps.