Easter Duty

This information is provided by Traditional Catholics of Houston, Inc., the nonprofit organization that sponsors Saint Jude Shrine.

This information is provided to assist the faithful but is not a substitute for the advice of a legitimate Catholic priest.

Last updated March 2024.

Prior to the death of Pope Pius XII on 9 October 1958, all baptized Catholics were required by Church law to receive Holy Communion at least once during the Easter season, that is from the First Sunday in Lent to Trinity Sunday.  This law still obliges Catholics today, if valid and lawful Sacraments are available to them from a legitimate Catholic priest upon whom the power of jurisdiction was conferred upon him by a valid and lawful bishop at some point after his ordination. 

Many of Saint Jude’s “extended congregation” are isolated from true Catholic priests.  Since a duty that is impossible to fulfill is no duty at all, the faithful who are not able to receive the Sacraments in person (and under acceptable circumstances) incur no penalty whatsoever. Moreover, Catholics who are thus far removed from the possibility of receiving the Sacraments from a true Catholic priest should strive to make a “Perfect Act of Contrition” and a “Spiritual Communion.” Those who do so with the proper disposition can sometimes obtain spiritual merit greater than those who are physically present at Mass, but do not participate in the sacramental life of the Church with great piety.  

Finally, the Sacraments of schismatic but valid clergy, such as Greek or Russian Orthodox priests, may be requested by the faithful, but ONLY in urgent cases of danger of death when no valid Catholic priest is available to administer the Last Sacraments to them, and when death is imminent.