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Guidelines for the Reception of Holy Communion


For Catholics  

As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion.  We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently.  In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour.   A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession.  In this case, the person is mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (Code of Canon Law 916).  A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all.


For our fellow Christians: We welcome fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters.    Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign 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.


For those not receiving Holy Communion: All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and one another.  You are invited to cross your arms over your chest and come to the priest for a blessing during the distribution of Communion.


For non-Christians: We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ.  While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family.  You are invited to cross your arms over your chest and come to the priest for a blessing during the distribution of Communion.


How to receive Holy Communion: Be prayerful in the Communion procession; it ought not to be for socialization.  Bow your headbefore receiving.  It need not be dramatic; a simple bow will do.  The general norms of the Church do not prescribe genuflecting at this time.  Place your tongue out adequately to receive from the minister, or extend two hands out in a flat posture, one upon the other.  Do not grab the hostwith your fingers.  Upon receiving in the hands, take one large step to the side and receive.  Do not walk away with the host nor receive while underway back to your pew.   The proper response when receiving Communion is "Amen"  Thank you is polite, but it does not respond to the act at hand. 

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