Holy Communion

The reception of the Holy Eucharist, in which Christ the Lord Himself is contained under the species of bread and wine. It is accomplished when the species are received into the mouth and swallowed. Then is the appropriateness of the name evident, since a true and real union is effected between the recipient and Christ. For worthy reception the disposition of soul required is freedom from mortal sin obtained when necessary by confession or in urgent necessity by an act of perfect contrition. Unless dispensed, the natural fast from everything in the nature of food and drink from midnight is the requisite disposition of body. The subject of Holy Communion is every baptized person not barred by law. Among those so barred are

  • children who have not reached the years of discretion
  • notoriously unworthy Catholics, even though not excommunicated
  • all those, who either through mental or bodily sickness cannot receive reverently

Holy Communion may be distributed in any place where Mass may be said and on every day in the year, but on Good Friday only as Viaticum and on Holy Saturday only at the Mass or immediately thereafter. Without good reason it is to be distribured only at the hours when Mass may be said (from one hour before dawn to one hour after midday). The priest alone is the ordinary minister, the deacon, the extraordinary. They follow the rules of their own rite even when distributing, in case of necessity, the sacred species consecrated in another rite. All the faithful are permitted to receive for devotion’s sake in any rite, yet, save in urgent necessity, one must receive Viaticum in his own rite, and is recommended to receive the Paschal Communion also in his own rite.

In Christian art, Holy Communion is associated with