Holy Communion Guidelines

For Catholics

As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Holy Mass when we receive Holy Communion.  We are encouraged to receive our Eucharistic Lord devoutly and frequently.  In order to be properly disposed to receive Him, the communicant should not be conscious of grave sin and should have fasted for one hour prior to reception.  A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior Sacramental Confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for Confession.  In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible. (Code of Canon Law, canon 916)  Frequent reception of the Sacrament of Confession is encouraged for all of the faithful.

For Other Christians

We welcome to the celebration of Holy Mass those Christians who are not fully united with us. It is a consequence of the sad division in Christianity that we cannot admit them to a reception of Holy Communion. Catholics believe that the Holy Eucharist signifies a oneness in faith, life and worship. Reception of the Holy Eucharist by Christians not fully united with us would imply a oneness which does not yet exist, and for which we must all pray. (Members of the Eastern Orthodox Churches should follow the discipline of their own cannon law regarding coming to Communion).

For Those Not Receiving Communion

Those not receiving Sacramental Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus.

For Non-Christians

We also welcome to Holy Mass those who do not share our faith in Jesus. While we cannot invite them to receive Holy Communion, we do invite them to be united with us in prayer.


St. Lawrence Catholic Church
6222 Franconia Road
Alexandria, VA, 22310
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(703) 971-4378
(703) 971-0331
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