Ask Ambrose: Second Helpings of the Eucharist?


Priest elevating the broken Bread at Eucharist

Q. Past teachings in the Church have said that parishioners should receive Eucharist only one time per day; however, is it not the case that more contemporary teachings relax this view? With multiple services in a day what is the current practice, and what is the justification?

A.  The teaching has been relaxed to a matter of personal conscience; however, consensus is that since each service is uniquely about the gathered community any person may receive without stricture.  The same reasoning dictates why we don’t just consecrate sacramental elements at the first Eucharist of the day for all the rest of the Eucharists that day. Each service is treated with the respect that it is due as a gathering of the assembly, in its own right, involving the consecration of that assembly, and bread and wine for that assembly. If a person celebrates eight Eucharists on a Sunday, whether a priest or a layperson, they communicate eight times.