Before Mass: 1 or 3 Hour Fast?

by Steve Ray on August 29, 2013

Interview note from my friend Dr. Edward Peters (his opinions are not necessarily mine; I post this for information and discussion only)

This afternoon at 5:15 Eastern, Drew Mariani (Relevant Radio) and I [Ed Peters] will be talking about my suggestion that the fast required for holy Communion be re-extended to three hours (up from the current one-hour rule).

If you’d like to read an overview of the idea, go here.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Cunningham August 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Amen to that. I’m told by our DRE that it’s 1 hour prior to Communion bc I help in an education class in-between masses and they have a buffet of food & coffee out. I harp on them saying “this is NOT fasting!!!” & the DRE comes in to tell me it is according to the canon law (to which I say “are we minimalists? Do we give God just the minimum?). In theory, depending on the length of the homily, one could walk in to mass & be eating a cheeseburger & be in line with the canon law of the fast bc it is set an hour prior to communion & call that a fast. Talk about a weak culture we have. No wonder the Real Presence isn’t believed by those that even show up to mass. Weak sissified society. Keep up the fight brother!

Tom Govern August 29, 2013 at 10:45 PM

I agree that the fast time should be until the start of Mass. Until reception can vary too much. One hour or three hours, I am not sure what the issue is. When I grew up it was from midnight for the day. That would not work now. We certainly do not want people discouraged from receiving our Lord but we do want to make the event special. That is one of the charms of being Catholic.

Terrance Dishneau August 30, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Here are reasons it should be 1 hr before receiving communion. At the 1st Mass there was no fast. The reception of the first eucharist was a part of a meal. This is a church discipline not a dogma or teaching of faith. 2 masses that are long excluding the homily – Easter Vigil and Christmas Midnight Mass. Why do we need a fast in order to reverence the Eucharist? The issue of believing in the Real Presence has nothing to do with the Fast – it is dependent upon what a person is taught as to the reasons why we as Catholics hold fast to revering the Sacramental presence of our Lord and Savior. Even more what a Catholic believes about the Bible is more fundamental to believing in the Eucharist. That is why the readings occur before the Consecration. A fast ought not be needed. It ought to be voluntary and not mandatory.

Rob Sardegna September 3, 2013 at 4:18 PM

All I will say is try fasting all day for an evening Mass. It will give you an entirely different view of, and appreciation for, the Eucharist. Blessings and grace do indeed come through fasting.

Remember, Jesus didn’t say IF you fast. He said, “WHEN you fast.”

If fasting to gain and show appreciation for the love Our Lord showed in giving us His own body and blood to feed on isn’t a good reason to fast, I don’t know what is.

I’m not suggesting you pull an all-day fast every time you receive. But somehow one hour before reception doesn’t quite cut it. It leads to less of an appreciation for the great gift we have been given.

Loren Tran September 9, 2013 at 6:34 AM

I like what Fr. Larry Richard said of how when Pope Francis urged everyone to fast and pray for peace, many will probably object because they support the war; but that was not what the Pope had asked. To fast for one or three hours before Mass is no where to be found in the Scriptures, but if your company said that they would give out free lunch on friday, you probably won’t bring lunch like you normally would so you can save space for that precious lunch of the company. Why can’t we do it for our good good Lord? His three hours on that Cross for us cost Him everything. And may I also suggest that we fast from talking once we enter the sanctuary and also after Mass? Don’t give Him that excuse that I am only human and this is too much. why settle for being a part-time Christian? Don’t compromise our humanness with God’s unfathomable love for us. The God-Man Jesus Christ suffered the Passion with all the humanness that was in Him. Poor Jesus indeed!

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