7058-communion-wafers_imgWe’ve been hearing from more and more of you that your churches are beginning to offer gluten-free options for communion (see our 2012 article here)

A woman from Madison, Wisconsin, who has celiac disease, says that she has a special arrangement for communion at St. Dennis Catholic Church in Madison. She avoids taking a wafer and drinks out of a separate cup to avoid cross contamination.

“Sometimes other people dip wafers, containing gluten, in the common cup or discharge particles into it. That contaminates the wine for a celiac,” she says. 

Many churches are beginning to understand the need to offer gluten-free communion (the wafers are normally made from wheat!) for those of us who are forced to remain strictly gluten-free, but they seem to be going about it in different ways.

According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Churches are not allowed to use gluten-free bread or wafers because “it’s impossible to consecrate a host made of something other than wheat and water.”

As a result, many churches offer low-gluten wafers approved by the Catholic Church. However since they still contain trace amounts of gluten, these are not at all safe for celiacs and many people with gluten intolerance.

Is it just me or is this completely absurd? This leaves those of us who wish to take communion, unable to; unless we want to risk a whole variety of awful symptoms.

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Waunakee doesn’t provide low-gluten wafers but it reserves the chalice, containing wine considered precious blood after consecration, for people with celiac disease or other gluten sensitivities Other worshipers at St. John receive only the host and the church considers having either the body or blood of Christ a full communion.

Other denominations, such as Lutherans and Methodists, do permit gluten-free bread or wafers.

Does your church offer gluten-free communion? If so, how do they do it?

Post by Laura at Gluten Free Traveller