Why do we do that? Catholic Life Explained

Instruction on Receiving Communion

Question: How many times a day can a person receive communion?

Answer: To find an answer to this question, we need to turn to the Church’s Code of Canon Law. Here we read, “One who has received the blessed Eucharist may receive it again on the same day only within a Eucharistic celebration in which that person participates …” (no. 917). This tells us that the standard answer would be that we can receive communion twice in a day.

Having said that, we also want to be sure that we pay attention to the entire instruction. The phrase “within a Eucharistic celebration in which that person participates” is important. It means a) that we always have to think of receiving communion as being within a celebration of the Mass and b) we have to be participants in that celebration – we can’t simply show up “in time” for communion.

So, when would this rule apply?

For example, if you attend Mass on a Saturday morning and then take part in the Sunday Vigil Mass on Saturday evening, you could licitly receive communion at both celebrations. Or, another example, if you receive communion at a wedding or funeral Mass, you could also receive communion at a daily Mass or Sunday Vigil celebrated on the same day. We always want to be sure that we observe the rules for fasting from food and drink before receiving the eucharist (see Code of Canon Law, no. 919).

We should also remember that the Code of Canon Law instructs that anyone who is in danger of death or seriously ill may also receive communion a second time (no. 91, §2).