From a reader:
Does the Eucharistic fast before Mass begin an hour before Mass starts or an hour before you receive Communion. I’ve heard different answers all my life, and some clarification would be great. Thanks
The Eucharistic fast is for an hour before reception of Holy Communion, not an hour before the beginning of Mass.
Can. 919 says:
“One who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion.”
This applies to both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
A drink of water does not break the Eucharistic fast.
You are free to fast longer than one hour. In my opinion, an hour is not long enough. That said, the law of the Latin Church is, for now, one hour before Communion and no one can be faulted for going by only one hour.
An exception to the rule would be if an elderly or sick person in a hospital or nursing home even at home is not in control of when meals can be taken. In that case, if the priest or other minister comes with Holy Communion even within the hour after eating, it is okay to receive.
We are of both body and soul. We should be disposed in both soul and body to receive Communion. Our spiritual preparation for reception of Communion involves dying to self and dying to sin and being in the state of grace. Our physical preparation involves dying to self and the things of the world through fasting. This is why one hour, in my opinion, is not adequate. I, however, am not the Legislator, who has a different view of the question.