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Sally Jean Wilson wrote:

Hi guys —

I'm a 55-year-old woman who's been drawn to the Catholic Church all my life. I'm a baptized, active Christian, and have been researching the possibility of becoming a convert to the Catholic faith.

The only issue that prevents me from pursuing this is that in the Catholic Church, everybody drinks the wine from the same cup during Holy Communion.

Communion is very important to me, so I would not care to participate partially and only receive the bread. Please let me know if there is any other way to receive Holy Communion.

  • In other words, if I become a member of the Catholic Church, is it possible to receive total Communion without drinking from a shared cup?

Thank you for your help.

Sally Jean

  { Is there any other way for me to receive Holy Communion? }

Bob replied:

Dear Sally,

Help me understand your concern.

  • Are you primarily concerned about sharing the cup with others, and thereby incurring germs, etc., or is your concern about somehow not getting enough of the Eucharist if you can't have more than a small sip?

In the first case, you can get around that by being as close to the front of the line as possible. (front row, aisle seat)

In the second case, know that every drop, regardless of size, contains the fullness of Christ's whole Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. It is a reality that connects us with the eternal, which transcends time and space. We receive Jesus in His fullness as He is in Heaven, risen and complete.

Sincerely in Christ,

Bob Kirby

Eric replied:

Hi Sally,

There is no obligation to receive from the cup. It's not even offered in many places. As Bob mentioned, one receives the whole Eucharist, "total Communion" in just the species of bread or just the species of wine alone.

It is also possible to receive Communion by intinction, where the host is dipped in the Precious Blood and administered that way, instead of people drinking from the cup. That said, it's exceedingly rare to find a parish that administers Communion this way. Eastern Rite parishes do, though the Slavic ones may not be any more sanitary than Roman Rite parishes. Your best bet would be a Melkite or Maronite parish.

The best solution for now probably is to accept Communion in the form of bread alone and receive that way.

Hope this helps,


Mike replied:

Hi Sally,

I wanted to add to what Bob and Eric have said on this issue.

You said:
Communion is very important to me, so I would not care to participate partially and only receive the bread.

When Catholics receive what appears to be bread, we receive not only the Body of Christ, but the Blood of Christ as well, though physically, it is a solid Holy Wafer we receive.

Like Bob said, We receive Jesus in His fullness as He is in Heaven, risen and complete.

In the same manner when we receive what appears to be grape wine, we receive not only the Blood of Christ, but his Body as well.

When we receive Holy Communion under either kind, we receive the:

  1. Body
  2. Blood
  3. Soul and
  4. Divinity of Our Blessed Lord.

For those who are not properly disposed or in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion, they can always say a Spiritual Communion:

Spiritual Communion

O Lord Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
I love you (above all things with all my mind and my heart) and I long for You in my soul.
Since I cannot receive You now sacramentally, at least come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace myself entirely to You and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.

Optional add-on: Come Lord Jesus and glorify Yourself through my weak body.


If you wish to go deeper, consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as Catholics.

Hope this clarifies things.


Terry replied:

I would agree with what you both have said, that when receiving the consecrated species, whether under the appearance of bread or under the appearance of wine, even the smallest particle of either kind is in fact, the fullness of Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Risen Lord Jesus, Son of God, Second Person of the Blessed and Undivided Trinity.

However I would add:

Receiving the sacred species under the appearance of wine is not a standard liturgical norm throughout the Western (Roman) Catholic Church; in fact, it should be offered only on special occasions such as Wedding Anniversaries, Marriages, Jubilees, etc., and not at every Mass, as it is not the norm.

I haven't got my reading specs with me, but I am happy to look up the relevant GIRM number if this is required.


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