This Week’s Ask Alice: I arrived late for Mass. Can I still receive Holy Communion?



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“R” asks: On Saturday night I arrived late for Mass, coming in during the Offertory. I didn’t know if it was proper to receive Communion after missing so much of the Mass. How late can a person come to Mass and still receive Communion? Also, can someone receive Communion more than once in a (24-hour) day?

Alice answers: Many faithful Catholics aren’t sure what to do in cases like this. Depending on the circumstances, and if otherwise properly disposed, it is typically OK to receive Communion, even if you arrive very late … at, or even after … the “Our Father”. In fact, you can probably receive even if you happen to come in just as Communion is being distributed.

But since arriving late may not be appreciated by the priest, and such a thing might also be (rightly or wrongly) interpreted by others as being disrespectful to God, it’s always best to arrive for Mass on time (a bit early, if possible) and to take great care to enter the church in a totally unobtrusive, courteous, and pious manner.

Now, about those “circumstances”: If you arrive late (missing the Gospel reading) for a Saturday vigil Mass, the Sunday liturgy, or for Mass on a designated Holy Day … you can still receive Communion, but since you had missed out and failed to participate in an essential part of the first Mass, you would need to attend a second Mass, in order to properly fulfill your Mass obligation. No such requirement applies to typical weekday or Saturday morning liturgies, which while highly recommended for all the faithful, remain purely optional, and not a matter of obligation.

But the good news is … you can receive Holy Communion at both Masses!

According to the Catechism, a Catholic can receive Holy Communion twice in one day, as long as the second time is in context of a Mass (1983 CIC c 917). If in imminent danger of death, Holy Communion may even be received for a third time, that day.

From the above, we also learn that an otherwise properly disposed Catholic may even receive Holy Communion without attending Mass. (Realizing of course, that our full, faithful participation at Mass is often the best way to assure our proper disposition.)

Disposition: More important than the time of our arrival at Mass, a Catholic must be “properly disposed” in order to worthily receive Communion: At a minimum, a person must: 1) be a practicing Catholic, in the state of grace, i.e., with no unconfessed mortal sins; 2) for a period of at least one hour before reception, have fasted from all food and drink (except water and/or medicine); and 3) believe in the Real Presence (the transubstantiation) of Jesus, in the Holy Eucharist.

In the Bible, Saint Paul explains it like this: “Whoever, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself and, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)

How blessed we are as Catholics, to receive the body and blood of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, each time we receive Holy Communion! Ours is a unique privilege that cannot be found in any of the Protestant Christian sects.

It has rightly been said that if Catholics fully realized the true and awesome nature of the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, they would gladly CRAWL up on hands and knees, to receive Our Lord, in Holy Communion.

From The Catechism of the Catholic Church: (1413) By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity. (cf. Council of Trent: *DS 1640; 1651)

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

Transubstantiation: From Stumbling Block to Cornerstone


The Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist is a real stumbling block to some Protestants who are seriously considering Catholicism. It was for me too, until I explored the subject, historically and scripturally. What follows is a summary of my deliberations.

Read more

Submitted by Doria2

Question for Catholics: How many of you accept transubstantiation? (I’ve yet to meet a Catholic who does.)

Q: Question for Catholics: How many of you accept transubstantiation? (I’ve yet to meet a Catholic who does.)

A: Anyone who understands that Jesus fulfilled the OT Passover at the Last Supper, and that he replaced it with the NT Mass, which is the re-presentation of his one time, once for all, perfect and eternal sacrifice for the sins of the world, knows that Jesus was deadly serious when he declared, “This is my body. This is my blood.” Do this in remembrance of me.”

Ask yourself what would have become of those who applied only symbolic lamb’s blood to their doorposts, and who ate only symbolic lamb on the first Passover, and you’ll see that God is very serious about this type of thing.

Catholics have always believed in transubstantiation, more than a thousand years before the term for it was even invented, because that is what Jesus taught, that is what the apostles taught, that is what the early Church Fathers taught, and that is what the Church continues to teach today.

Nothing has changed … and there’s certainly nothing to be found in the Bible, to the contrary.

At every Mass, Jesus becomes truly and substantially present on the altar for us … body, blood, soul, and divinity … as High Priest, Perfect Victim, brother, king, and God.

In this way, through Jesus, we faithfully ask God to bless us and keep us, and to provide for all our needs.

God originally spoke everything into existence, from nothing.

Why is it so difficult for some people to take him at his word about the Holy Eucharist, especially those who claim to be justified by faith?

Here’s another Catholic who gracefully accepts transubstantiation, and all that goes along with it!