Title III. The Most Holy Eucharist


Can. 897 The most August sacrament is the Most Holy Eucharist in which Christ the Lord himself is contained, offered, and received and by which the Church continually 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 through the ages is the summit and source of all worship and Christian life, which signifies and effects the unity of the People of God and brings about the building up of the body of Christ. Indeed, the other sacraments and all the ecclesiastical works of the apostolate are closely connected with the Most Holy Eucharist and ordered to it.

Can. 898 The Christian faithful are to hold the Most Holy Eucharist in highest honor, taking an active part in the celebration of the most august sacrifice, receiving this sacrament most devoutly and frequently, and worshiping it with the highest adoration. In explaining the doctrine about this sacrament, pastors of souls are to teach the faithful diligently about this obligation.

Chapter I. The Eucharistic Celebration

Can. 899 §1. The eucharistic celebration is the action of Christ himself and the Church. In it, Christ the Lord, through the ministry of the priest, offers himself, substantially present under the species of bread and wine, to God the Father and gives himself as spiritual food to the faithful united with his offering.

§2. In the eucharistic gathering the people of God are called together with the bishop or, under his authority, a presbyter presiding and acting in the person of Christ. All the faithful who are present, whether clerics or laity, unite together by participating in their own way according to the diversity of orders and liturgical functions.

§3. The eucharistic celebration is to be organized in such a way that all those participating receive from it the many fruits for which Christ the Lord instituted the eucharistic sacrifice.

Art. 1. The Minister of the Most Holy Eucharist

Can. 900 §1. The minister who is able to confect the sacrament of the Eucharist in the person of Christ is a validly ordained priest alone.

§2. A priest not impeded by canon law celebrates the Eucharist licitly; the provisions of the following canons are to be observed.

Can. 901 A priest is free to apply the Mass for anyone, living or dead.

Can. 902 Unless the welfare of the Christian faithful requires or suggests otherwise, priests can concelebrate the Eucharist. They are completely free to celebrate the Eucharist individually, however, but not while a concelebration is taking place in the same church or oratory.

Can. 903 A priest is to be permitted to celebrate even if the rector of the church does not know him, provided that either he presents a letter of introduction from his ordinary or superior, issued at least within the year, or it can be judged prudently that he is not impeded from celebrating.

Can. 904 Remembering always that in the mystery of the eucharistic sacrifice the work of redemption is exercised continually, priests are to celebrate frequently; indeed, daily celebration is recommended earnestly since, even if the faithful cannot be present, it is the act of Christ and the Church in which priests fulfill their principal function.

Can. 905 §1. A priest is not permitted to celebrate the Eucharist more than once a day except in cases where the law permits him to celebrate or concelebrate more than once on the same day.

§2. If there is a shortage of priests, the local ordinary can allow priests to celebrate twice a day for a just cause, or if pastoral necessity requires it, even three times on Sundays and holy days of obligation.

Can. 906 Except for a just and reasonable cause, a priest is not to celebrate the eucharistic sacrifice without the participation of at least some member of the faithful.

Can. 907 In the eucharistic celebration deacons and lay persons are not permitted to offer prayers, especially the eucharistic prayer, or to perform actions which are proper to the celebrating priest.

Can. 908 Catholic priests are forbidden to concelebrate the Eucharist with priests or ministers of Churches or ecclesial communities which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church.

Can. 909 A priest is not to neglect to prepare himself properly through prayer for the celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice and to offer thanks to God at its completion.

Can. 910 §1. The ordinary minister of holy communion is a bishop, presbyter, or deacon.

§2. The extraordinary minister of holy communion is an acolyte or another member of the Christian faithful designated according to the norm of can. 230, §3.

Can. 911 §1. The pastor, parochial vicars, chaplains, and, with regard to all those dwelling in the house, the superior of a community in clerical religious institutes and societies of apostolic life have the duty and right of bringing the Most Holy Eucharist as Viaticum to the sick.

§2. In the case of necessity or with at least the presumed permission of the pastor, chaplain, or superior, who must be notified afterwards, any priest or other minister of holy communion must do this.

Art. 2. Participation in the Most Holy Eucharist

Can. 912 Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion.

Can. 913 §1. The administration of the Most Holy Eucharist to children requires that they have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so that they understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity and are able to receive the body of Christ with faith and devotion.

§2. The Most Holy Eucharist, however, can be administered to children in danger of death if they can distinguish the body of Christ from ordinary food and receive communion reverently.

Can. 914 It is primarily the duty of parents and those who take the place of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible. It is for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children who have not attained the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do not approach holy communion.

Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

Can. 916 A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.

Can. 917 A person who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can receive it a second time on the same day only within the eucharistic celebration in which the person participates, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 921, §2.

Can. 918 It is highly recommended that the faithful receive holy communion during the eucharistic celebration itself. It is to be administered outside the Mass, however, to those who request it for a just cause, with the liturgical rites being observed.

Can. 919 §1. 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.

§2. 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.

§3. 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.

Can. 920 §1. After being initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, each of the faithful is obliged to receive holy communion at least once a year.

§2. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season unless it is fulfilled for a just cause at another time during the year.

Can. 921 §1. The Christian faithful who are in danger of death from any cause are to be nourished by holy communion in the form of Viaticum.

§2. Even if they have been nourished by holy communion on the same day, however, those in danger of death are strongly urged to receive communion again.

§3. While the danger of death lasts, it is recommended that holy communion be administered often, but on separate days.

Can. 922 Holy Viaticum for the sick is not to be delayed too long; those who have the care of souls are to be zealous and vigilant that the sick are nourished by Viaticum while fully conscious.

Can. 923 The Christian faithful can participate in the eucharistic sacrifice and receive holy communion in any Catholic rite, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 844.

Art. 3. The Rites and Ceremonies of the Eucharistic Celebration

Can. 924 §1. The most holy eucharistic sacrifice must be offered with bread and with wine in which a little water must be mixed.

§2. The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling.

§3. The wine must be natural from the fruit of the vine and not spoiled.

Can. 925 Holy communion is to be given under the form of bread alone, or under both species according to the norm of the liturgical laws, or even under the form of wine alone in a case of necessity.

Can. 926 According to the ancient tradition of the Latin Church, the priest is to use unleavened bread in the eucharistic celebration whenever he offers it.

Can. 927 It is absolutely forbidden, even in extreme urgent necessity, to consecrate one matter without the other or even both outside the eucharistic celebration.

Can. 928 The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in the Latin language or in another language provided that the liturgical texts have been legitimately approved.

Can. 929 In celebrating and administering the Eucharist, priests and deacons are to wear the sacred vestments prescribed by the rubrics.

Can. 930 §1. If an infirm or elderly priest is unable to stand, he can celebrate the eucharistic sacrifice while seated, but not before the people except with the permission of the local ordinary; the liturgical laws are to be observed.

§2. A blind or otherwise infirm priest licitly celebrates the eucharistic sacrifice by using any approved text of the Mass with the assistance, if needed, of another priest, deacon, or even a properly instructed lay person.

Art. 4. The Time and Place of the Celebration of the Eucharist

Can. 931 The celebration and distribution of the Eucharist can be done at any day and hour except those which the liturgical norms exclude.

Can. 932 §1. The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in a sacred place unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a decent place.

§2. The eucharistic sacrifice must be carried out on a dedicated or blessed altar; outside a sacred place a suitable table can be used, always with a cloth and a corporal.

Can. 933 For a just cause and with the express permission of the local ordinary, a priest is permitted to celebrate the Eucharist in the place of worship of some Church or ecclesial community which does not have full communion with the Catholic Church so long as there is no scandal.

Chapter II. The Reservation and Veneration of the Most Holy Eucharist

Can. 934 §1. The Most Holy Eucharist:

1° must be reserved in the cathedral church or its equivalent, in every parish church, and in a church or oratory connected to the house of a religious institute or society of apostolic life;

2° can be reserved in the chapel of the bishop and, with the permission of the local ordinary, in other churches, oratories, and chapels.

§2. In sacred places where the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved, there must always be someone responsible for it and, insofar as possible, a priest is to celebrate Mass there at least twice a month.

Can. 935 No one is permitted to keep the Eucharist on one’s person or to carry it around, unless pastoral necessity urges it and the prescripts of the diocesan bishop are observed.

Can. 936 In the house of a religious institute or some other pious house, the Most Holy Eucharist is to be reserved only in the church or principal oratory attached to the house. For a just cause, however, the ordinary can also permit it to be reserved in another oratory of the same house.

Can. 937 Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, the church in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved is to be open to the faithful for at least some hours every day so that they can pray before the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Can. 938 §1. The Most Holy Eucharist is to be reserved habitually in only one tabernacle of a church or oratory.

§2. The tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved is to be situated in some part of the church or oratory which is distinguished, conspicuous, beautifully decorated, and suitable for prayer.

§3. The tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved habitually is to be immovable, made of solid and opaque material, and locked in such a way that the danger of profanation is avoided as much as possible.

§4. For a grave cause, it is permitted to reserve the Most Holy Eucharist in some other fitting and more secure place, especially at night.

§5. The person responsible for the church or oratory is to take care that the key of the tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved is safeguarded most diligently.

Can. 939 Consecrated hosts in a quantity sufficient for the needs of the faithful are to be kept in a pyx or small vessel; they are to be renewed frequently and the older hosts consumed properly.

Can. 940 A special lamp which indicates and honors the presence of Christ is to shine continuously before a tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved.

Can. 941 §1. In churches or oratories where it is permitted to reserve the Most Holy Eucharist, there can be expositions with the pyx or the monstrance; the norms prescribed in the liturgical books are to be observed.

§2. Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament is not to be held in the same area of the church or oratory during the celebration of Mass.

Can. 942 It is recommended that in these churches and oratories an annual solemn exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament be held for an appropriate period of time, even if not continuous, so that the local community more profoundly meditates on and adores the eucharistic mystery. Such an exposition is to be held, however, only if a suitable gathering of the faithful is foreseen and the established norms are observed.

Can. 943 The minister of exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament and of eucharistic benediction is a priest or deacon; in special circumstances, the minister of exposition and reposition alone without benediction is the acolyte, extraordinary minister of holy communion, or someone else designated by the local ordinary; the prescripts of the diocesan bishop are to be observed.

Can. 944 §1. When it can be done in the judgment of the diocesan bishop, a procession through the public streets is to be held as a public witness of veneration toward the Most Holy Eucharist, especially on the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

§2. It is for the diocesan bishop to establish regulations which provide for the participation in and the dignity of processions.

Chapter III. The Offering Given for the Celebration of Mass

Can. 945 §1. In accord with the approved practice of the Church, any priest celebrating or concelebrating is permitted to receive an offering to apply the Mass for a specific intention.

§2. It is recommended earnestly to priests that they celebrate Mass for the intention of the Christian faithful, especially the needy, even if they have not received an offering.

Can. 946 The Christian faithful who give an offering to apply the Mass for their intention contribute to the good of the Church and by that offering share its concern to support its ministers and works.

Can. 947 Any appearance of trafficking or trading is to be excluded entirely from the offering for Masses.

Can. 948 Separate Masses are to be applied for the intentions of those for whom a single offering, although small, has been given and accepted.

Can. 949 A person obliged to celebrate and apply Mass for the intention of those who gave an offering is bound by the obligation even if the offerings received have been lost through no fault of his own.

Can. 950 If a sum of money is offered for the application of Masses without an indication of the number of Masses to be celebrated, the number is to be computed on the basis of the offering established in the place where the donor resides, unless the intention of the donor must be presumed legitimately to have been different.

Can. 951 §1. A priest who celebrates several Masses on the same day can apply each to the intention for which the offering was given, but subject to the rule that, except on Christmas, he is to keep the offering for only one Mass and transfer the others to the purposes prescribed by the ordinary, while allowing for some recompense by reason of an extrinsic title.

§2. A priest who concelebrates a second Mass on the same day cannot accept an offering for it under any title.

Can. 952 §1. It is for the provincial council or a meeting of the bishops of the province to define by decree for the entire province the offering to be given for the celebration and application of Mass, and a priest is not permitted to seek a larger sum. Nevertheless, he is permitted to accept for the application of a Mass a voluntary offering which is larger or even smaller than the one defined.

§2. Where there is no such decree, the custom in force in the diocese is to be observed.

§3. Members of all religious institutes must also observe the same decree or local custom mentioned in §§1 and 2.

Can. 953 No one is permitted to accept more offerings for Masses to be applied by himself than he can satisfy within a year.

Can. 954 If in certain churches or oratories more Masses are asked to be celebrated than can be celebrated there, it is permitted for them to be celebrated elsewhere unless the donors have expressly indicated a contrary intention.

Can. 955 §1. A person who intends to entrust to others the celebration of Masses to be applied is to entrust their celebration as soon as possible to priests acceptable to him, provided that he is certain that they are above suspicion. He must transfer the entire offering received unless it is certain that the excess over the sum fixed in the diocese was given for him personally. He is also obliged to see to the celebration of the Masses until he learns that the obligation has been accepted and the offering received.

§2. The time within which Masses must be celebrated begins on the day the priest who is to celebrate them received them unless it is otherwise evident.

§3. Those who entrust to others Masses to be celebrated are to record in a book without delay both the Masses which they received and those which they transferred to others, as well as their offerings.

§4. Every priest must note accurately the Masses which he accepted to celebrate and those which he has satisfied.

Can. 956 Each and every administrator of pious causes or those obliged in any way to see to the celebration of Masses, whether clerics or laity, are to hand over to their ordinaries according to the method defined by the latter the Mass obligations which have not been satisfied within a year.

Can. 957 The duty and right of exercising vigilance that Mass obligations are fulfilled belong to the local ordinary in churches of secular clergy and to the superiors in churches of religious institutes or societies of apostolic life.

Can. 958 §1. The pastor and the rector of a church or other pious place which regularly receives offerings for Masses are to have a special book in which they note accurately the number of Masses to be celebrated, the intention, the offering given, and their celebration.

§2. The ordinary is obliged to examine these books each year either personally or through others.