QUAERITUR: Another question about fasting before Communion.

From a reader:

I’ve read past entries of yours in which you’ve commented on the particulars of the fast before the reception of Holy Communion, and there’s one aspect you haven’t covered yet to my knowledge. What if I’m in an as yet unabsolved state of sin and I know well beforehand that I’ll be abstaining from the Sacrament? Am I still obligated to observe the 1 hour fast, or can I chow down to my heart’s content before I leave for Mass? It has never felt right to me that I could be wiping the breadcrumbs off my shirt as I approach the Church doors and yet I know of no rule against it. What is the rule as it applies to those who are abstaining?

This isn’t too hard. You are obliged to fast for one hour before the reception of Holy Communion, not before the distribution of Holy Communion.

Two other pieces of advice.

  1. Use a bib.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. James Joseph says:

    I might offer a third bit of advice.

    3. Mortify thyself. Fast, give alms, and pray so that the Sacrament of Confession might actually be made available.

    (empty confessionals at announced times, handwritten signs that no confessions at all at the parish this week or the next, diocesan policy against confessions at more than one parish in a newly formed cluster, confessions only heard during regular work hours of rich people, confessions only heard during working hours of the regular working folk)

  2. Bea says:

    Fr. Z.
    Loved your quarter’s worth (2 bits) of advise.
    Worth of
    1 bit = The Kingdom of God

  3. The Cobbler says:

    And if you don’t feel like it’s appropriate to eat (that is, not fast) before Mass even if you’re not taking Communion, remember that you can fast because you feel it’s appropriate/helpful (as long as you’re not starving yourself in the process or anything — consult your spiritual advisor if in doubt) even if it’s not required. Just don’t be surprised if anybody else decides differently since it’s not a requirement. 8^)

  4. Pingback: Sept. 14, 2013 - My Catholic Conscience

  5. Shonkin says:

    James Joseph makes an excellent point. I live in Helena, MT. The only confessions in our town on Saturday are at the Cathedral on Saturday morning, so that’s where I go. Two of the other parishes in/near Helena have confessions during what are working hours for most people with day jobs, and one has confessions at 5:30 on Wednesday evening (right after work for most). “Or by appointment” in all parishes, if you don’t mind telling the office manager you need to go to confession and have her call you back with a time.
    Okay, we have a severe priest shortage up here in the frozen North, but it still seems that people who are not housewives or retirees could use some options.

Comments are closed.