Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
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Preparing for the Eucharist

The Eucharist is an intimate and privileged encounter with Christ, in which we sacramentally receive Christ into our bodies, that we may be more completely assimilated into His. It is the Source and Summit of the Christian Life.

There are two fundamental requirements Catholics must meet in order to receive the Eucharist worthily: (1) They must be in a state of grace, and (2) observe the Eucharistic Fast.

Regarding the "state of grace," the Church draws on the words of Scripture in setting forth requirements for receiving Holy Communion. As St. Paul tells us, “Whoever, therefore, 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 so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” (1 Cor 11:27-28).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church offer this guidance. "Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.

Regarding the Eucharistic Fast, the Code of Canon Law states “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." The only exceptions are elderly people, those who are ill, and their caretakers. Priests and deacons may not dispense one obligated by the Eucharistic fast unless the bishop has expressly granted such power to them.