Q. How long is a person supposed to fast before Communion. I know the rule I was told growing up was one hour? Also, how long should you fast after Communion?
N.B., via e-mail
A. Here is a reply from Father Francis Hoffman, J.C.D:
The Church asks us to fast for one hour before Communion, but there are no indications of how long to fast after Communion. Growing up, I was taught that the “species” of the holy Eucharist remains in us (in our stomach) for 10 to 15 minutes until digested; for that reason, pious common sense suggests not eating or drinking for 10 to 15 minutes after holy Communion.
Here is what the Code of Canon Law states: “A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from any food and drink, except for only water and medicine.
“A priest who celebrates the Most Holy Eucharist two or three times on the same day can take something before the second or third celebration even if there is less than one hour between them.
“The elderly, the infirm, and those who care for them can receive the Most Holy Eucharist even if they have eaten something within the preceding hour” (Canon 919).