I heard recently that there is a rule that after receiving Holy Communion, a person should not eat for fifteen minutes (I think because that’s how long the Body of Christ is in us after Communion).
Most of the time, this wouldn’t pose an issue because with the prayers after Communion and after Mass it would be longer than 15 minutes after Communion before people even get out of the church. But at my college ___ we have Daily Mass before lunch. The Mass is very quick, and I believe that many times Mass gets out and people go and get lunch before the fifteen-minute period after Communion is over. Is there actually such a 15-minute rule? If there is, I’d like to spread the word around my campus to make sure people aren’t breaking their fasts!
There is a law, risible as it may be, applicable to most people to fast for one hour before reception of Holy Communion. I say most people, because sometimes there are special circumstances and I risible because an hour is… simply put… not enough, in my humble opinion. But it is the law of the Latin Church. Also, the one hour is before reception of Communion and not, as some people mistakenly think, before the beginning of Mass. Some Masses are long enough that you could be eating your pork and beans on the way up the stairs of the church and still be okay for reception of Communion.
There is no law concerning fasting after reception of Communion.
There is, however, a rule of thumb.
It is usually suggested that you allow at least 15 minutes to pass before taking food.
The reason for this is grounded in our belief that, after the consecration, as long as the accidents of bread remain, then the Eucharistic Christ is truly present. Once the substance is broken, and we can no longer discern the accidents of what was bread, then Christ is no longer sacramentally present. It probably takes about 15 minutes – on the safe side – for the Host to be changed in the process of swallowing and digestion to the point where it is no longer the Eucharist.
If we truly believe what we say we believe about the Eucharist, doesn’t it seem right to stay and pray a bit even after Mass and say “Thank you!” to our Lord?
So, the good rule of thumb is about 15 minutes. And it turns out that in some parishes there are enough announcements and other blabblab that 15 minutes are eaten up, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Friends, we should cultivate the practice, and set a good example for others, by remaining in church in prayer of thanksgiving after Holy Mass concludes. Fathers! Bishops! You should talk about this as well!
Let us promote reverent silence for prayer after Mass! Rise up against the profaning of our churches by kneeling down in silent and prayerful thanksgiving!
Unite! Promote the new evangelization! Reclaim the sacred spaces of our churches!
Take our churches back from jabbering cretins who fill the air after Mass with their relentlessly mundane GABBLE!!!
No, there is no law. But it is a good thing to remember after Mass on your way to the doughnut line.
Here is a prayer that you could learn and recite after Holy Mass during which you dared to receive Communion:
A Prayer For After Mass
I give thanks to Thee, O Lord, most holy, Father almighty, eternal God, that Thou hast vouchsafed, for no merit of mine own, but out of Thy pure mercy, to appease the hunger of my soul with the precious body and blood of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Humbly I implore Thee, let not this holy communion be to me an increase of guilt unto my punishment, but an availing plea unto pardon and salvation. Let it be to me the armour of faith and the shield of good will. May it root out from my heart all vice; may it utterly subdue my evil passions and all my unruly desires. May it perfect me in charity and patience; in humility and obedience; and in all other virtues. May it be my sure defence against the snares laid for me by my enemies, visible and invisible. May it restrain and quiet all my evil impulses, and make me ever cleave to Thee Who art the one true God. May I owe to it a happy ending of my life. And do Thou, O heavenly Father, vouchsafe one day to call me, a sinner, to that ineffable banquet, where Thou, together with Thy Son and the Holy Ghost, art to Thy saints true and unfailing light, fullness of content, joy for evermore, gladness without alloy, consummate and everlasting happiness. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.