No longer do you have to settle for receiving Holy Eucharist under the species of wine or spiritual communion (if you cannot tolerate alcohol.) Communion hosts that are virtually gluten-free are now available. Encouraged by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have formulated a recipe that fully complies with Canon Law. It took years of dedicated research and equipment adaptation but they have succeeded in producing hosts (in a gluten free environment) with a wheat starch percentage of less than .01%. (Canon Law does not allow bread made from other than wheat flour. .01% is virtually imperceptible. )
The wafers are pure white, ultra thin (to even further minimize any gluten content), perfectly round and engraved with religious designs just like normal altar bread. Catch is, you have to obtain the hosts yourself, encase yours in a pyx and add it to the offertory plate for distribution only by the Mass celebrant. This way no hands touch the host but your own, and any chance ofcross contamination is eliminated.)
Not all priests are as well educated as others about the “gluten-free” host procedure. So it’s best to review it with the celebrant before Mass. My pastor was accommodating enough to provide me with my own personal pyx a parish cost. (A pyx is the small gold, round case a priest or Eucharistic minister uses to bring a consecrate host to the sick. They average about $15 on Amazon if you have to buy your own.) Regular priests seem to pick up on the procedure quickly. You may have to inform visitors or the priest in parishes you visit. (However, it’s a great way to introduce yourself. And it helps priests get ready when you step up in line.)
Yes, you have to suffer the inconvenience of obtaining your own hosts and only receiving from the celebrant’s line. Yes, sometimes that may take a bit of extra walking. But it’s a small price to pay for being able to receive the Body of Christ without suffering.
You can contact the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual adoration at 800-223-7722. This past June I was able to purchase 30 hosts for $7.99 including first class postage shipping. (You store them in your refrigerator or freezer. I use full hosts for Sundays and half hosts for weekday Masses.)
These Benedictine Sisters have been making altar breads for over a hundred years. Their website: www. benedictinesisters.org is rich in history, information on the host’s production process, storage procedures, how hosts should be handled at Mass, and even relevant Canon Law. Ordering from the Sisters is easy. Call Monday and you should get your hosts for Mass on Sunday.
Spread the good news to our celiac Catholic brothers and sisters.
For more information check out:
Catholic Communion and Celiac Disease: the Options