Participating in the Sacrament of Holy Communion is the way that we show our faith as Christians and express our unity with the Church, the Body of Christ. The Church, therefore, requires us to receive the Eucharist at least once per year.
While this is known as our "Easter Duty," we can perform it any time between Ash Wednesday and Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost. Of course, before fulfilling our Easter Duty, it is a good idea go to Confession, too. Most parishes in the United States offer Confession on Saturday afternoons, making it convenient for parishioners to go to Confession before going to Mass on Sunday. While we are only required to go to Confession before Communion if we are conscious of having committed a mortal sin, frequent Confession, even of venial sins, is a very good practice. (And, at a minimum, the second of the Precepts of the Church requires us to go to Confession once per year, whether we have committed a mortal sin or not.)
(Pope Benedict XVI gives Polish President Lech Kaczynski (kneeling) Holy Communion during the Holy Mass at Pilsudski Square May 26, 2006, in Warsaw, Poland. Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)