During Mass, we’re addressing some of your more complex questions about the Catholic faith in our message series, Faith Answering Questions. Here are a few less weighty but still interesting questions we received.
For the past few weeks, we’ve talked about how to make evangelization easier and more natural. But one of the main reasons Catholics give for being hesitant to evangelize is a lack of knowledge. So, in the few short weeks before summer, we’re going to be responding to “FAQs — faith answering questions” and hopefully tackle some of those doubts.
In this article, we’re going to answer three questions. First, is it appropriate to chat before, during, and after Mass, or does that disturb the sanctity of the space? Second, what are the rules about eating before Communion? Is it a sin to eat less than one hour before receiving the Body of Christ? Finally, why is Communion wine sometimes not red? It is the blood of Christ, after all. We’ll talk about the second and third ones together, as they do both concern the Eucharist.
Regarding reverence at church and during Mass, it is completely correct to say that the church is a sacred space for worship and prayer, a place where we worship both as an entire Christian community and in the privacy of our hearts. Thus, loud, unnecessary chatting during Mass (even if it’s related to church or the message being shared) is discouraged, as it detracts from the experience of those around you. If something said inspires you to speak, remember that point and have a fun conversation after Mass over coffee and donuts. Before and after Mass, just be conscious and courteous of those praying around you and try to keep conversations to a low volume. That being said, remember that church is just as much a time for community-building and catching up with friends as it is for quiet prayer and reflection, and try not to fixate on the whispers or the pre- and post-Mass chats of others. We’re all here for the same reason, after all, united in our love and beliefs, no matter how vocal (or not) we choose to be.
Regarding fasting before Communion, it is indeed stated in Canon Law that one should refrain from eating or drinking one hour before receiving the Eucharist. Exempt from this are the sick, the elderly, those caring for the sick and elderly, and priests who are saying more than one Mass in a day. The consumption of water and medicine do not count as breaking the fast, either, for everyone. The concept of this kind of fasting is that it keeps us physically hungry, and thus opens our hearts to be more fully filled with spiritual nourishment during the Mass. Finally, communion wine (otherwise known as sacramental wine) may be red or white. The color and the grape are not vastly important as long as the wine is not spoiled, as the blood of Christ is not present until the wine is blessed.
--Claire Kosewic, Parishioner
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