The Eucharist is the most august sacrament, in which Christ himself is contained, offered and received, and by which the Church constantly lives and grows. The Eucharistic Sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated over the centuries, is the summit and source of all Christian life and worship; it signifies and effects the unity of the people of God and achieves the building up of the Body of Christ.
As children reach the age of reason, generally around age seven, the Church extends to them an invitation to celebrate the sacrament of Eucharist. The initiation into the Christian community that took place at baptism is further extended by inviting children to enter fully into the heart of Christian faith through participation in the Eucharist.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Eucharist
- If someone is allergic to one of the Eucharistic species, may a substitute be given?
We must remember the church teaching that the whole Christ is received under either species of bread or wine. A substitute form of the bread may not be used. Wheat flour contains glutens, to which some are allergic; while bread made with a low amount of gluten may be used, gluten-free bread is not valid for the Eucharist. For those who cannot take even small amounts of gluten, the solution is the offering of the Precious Blood alone. Return to Top
- Is it permissible to receive Communion more than once a day?
If a person has received Communion, he or she may receive it a second time on the same day if it is during a celebration of the Eucharist itself. Viaticum, the Eucharist given to a dying person or a person who is danger of death, may always be given regardless of whether or not a person has already received Communion that day. Return to Top
- May grape juice be substituted for wine?
A priest may use mustum, juice pressed from the grape but not yet fermented into wine, as a substitute for wine if he cannot consume a small portion of wine and has permission from the Chancery Office. Mustum cannot be consumed by the congregation. Return to Top
- May mentally or developmentally challenged people receive Communion at Mass?
A mentally or developmentally challenged person should be appropriately disposed to receive Communion, be able to distinguish the Eucharist from ordinary food, and be able to receive Communion reverently. Parents or guardians and the pastor share the responsibility for the preparation for and the participation in the Eucharist. Return to Top
- May non-Catholics receive Communion at Mass?
Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharist sharing in exceptional circumstance by other Christians requires permission from the archbishop. For further information, go to the following link: Non-Catholics and Holy Communion.Return to Top
- May reception of the Body and Blood of Christ by intinction be used?
The communicant may never be allowed to self-communicate, even by means of intinction, or dipping the consecrated host into the wine cup. Communion under bread or wine must always be given by an ordinary or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. Return to Top
- What are the Archdiocese of Milwaukee norms for Communion services?
At a weekday celebration in the absence of a priest:
Return to Top
- The faithful are encouraged to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours or a Liturgy of the Word.
- If there is no priest available for an extended period of weekdays (three or more), a Communion service may be held.
- A Communion service during the week is not to be held for children.
- If a Mass is celebrated on a given weekday, a Communion service is not to take place at another time on that day.
- The pastor or parish director can appoint the leader of prayer on a weekday, providing proper instruction to the persons selected and being assured of their abilities to lead in prayer.
- What are the requirements for Eucharistic fast?
Prior to reception of Communion, a person should fast from food and drink, with the exception of water and medicine, for at least one hour. The elderly and the sick, as well as those who care for them, are not required to maintain the hour's fast. Return to Top
- What are the requirements for valid Eucharist bread and wine?
Canon law requires that the bread be recently-made wheat bread so that there is no danger of spoilage. Bread made from flour other than wheat or with other additives is not valid for the celebration of Eucharist. Ancient tradition requires that the bread be unleavened. The wine must be natural grape wine. Wine made from other fruit or chemically composed is not valid for the Eucharist. Return to Top
- Why are catechumens dismissed at the Eucharist?
Catechumens are dismissed after the Liturgy of the Word so they can continue their reflection on the word with the help of their catechists. Since catechumens are not fully initiated, they cannot receive communion. Return to Top