What are the guidelines for fasting before the Eucharist? I know this is splitting hairs, but is it an hour before the service starts? Or is it the hour before the actual Holy Communion part of the service begins? Or are both wrong? What about people in the hospital?
--Confused in Florida
Here is the answer from the Code of Canon Law, number 919:
Paragraph 1: One who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception only of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion.
Paragraph 2: A priest who celebrates the Most Holy Eucharist two or three times on the same day may take something before the second or third celebration even if the period of one hour does not intervene.
Paragraph 3: Those who are advanced in age or who suffer from any infirmity, as well as those who take care of them, can receive the Most Holy Eucharist even if they have taken something during the previous hour.
This last paragraph is important for those who take communion to those who are in hospital and get there when a person is eating their lunch. The person in the bed may pause for the prayer service and take communion.