I was taught to abstain from food or drink at least one hour before receiving Holy Communion. I've seen people at Mass drinking bottled water before Communion, including a Deacon assisting the priest. Has there been a change in the rules for fasting?
Drinking water does not break the fast before communion. The current rule, in place since 1964, says, “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.” (see Canon 919).
It is a bit odd for a liturgical minister to be drinking bottled water in the Sanctuary. Perhaps the deacon has a health problem. But, precluding that, one would think it was usually possible to go without water for an hour or two. Water bottles are a kind of modern fad. We used to manage quite well without them.
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