A Gluten Free Catholic Holy Communion

My daughters just celebrated their First Holy Communion at our local parish, St. Anthony’s on Sunday, May 16, 2010.  It was a beautiful day and the girls looked adorable!

Kaylee and Kenzie Presenting The Gifts

I’ve heard so much negativity about Catholic Communion and Celiac.  We had a wonderful experience, so I’m wondering if Parish’s are uninformed or if the parishioners are?

The first step I took during our First Communion Prep was to email the church office asking how to handle communion.  Our Parish has a plan in place… they keep Low Gluten Altar Breads on hand (less than .01ppm) and they also have pyx’s (a small metal container).  The breads were provided for us to keep at home in our freezer and I paid $10 for the pyx (I had ordered one online, engraved for $30, only to find out everyone in the parish needs the same pyx so the Priest doesn’t have to figure out which one goes to who.).

Pyx for Celiac Communion

For First Communion (and every Sunday hereafter), we simply bring one of the altar breads from home in the pyx and place it in the bowl at the back of the church.  The pyx goes into the bowl with all the regular altar bread, for contamination concerns on the outside of the pyx, we carry wipes in my bag which can be used to wash immediately after handling the pyx.  We have the choice to consume the wine from our shared Chalice or not… as communion is complete with either the body or blood.  However, with a handful of Celiac’s in our Parish community, no one has experienced a problem with the shared Chalice or low gluten hosts/pyx system.  Our church office explained to me that the piece of altar bread that is broken off and added to the Chalice is only in the one Father drinks out of, so there are no crumbs in the other cups.

Kenzie and Kaylee Looking Beautiful!

For low gluten altar breads, go to Benedictine Sisters website.

For pyx, check out The Catholic Company (make sure your Parish doesn’t have requirements first!).

Even if your Parish doesn’t have a plan in place already, they should be able to implement this system because the Low Gluten Altar Breads made by the Benedictine Sisters are approved by the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops for use in the Eucharistic Liturgy.

Information from the Benedictine Sisters about the low gluten altar bread-

“The facts… Our low gluten bread is made with wheat starch and water. The gluten content is less than 0.01%. It is made, stored, and shipped in a dedicated gluten-free environment…

(The Church’s Response) Having reviewed the laboratory reports you sent, which set the amount of gluten in these altar breads at less than 0.01%, I am pleased to state that these special hosts are indeed made according to the requirements of both the Code of Canon Law (c.924) and the special considerations set out by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, in his July 24, 2003 letter to the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences (Prot. N. 89/78-17498) and may be validly used at Mass in the diocese of the United States with appropriate permission.” From the Benedictine Sisters website.

About PolkaDotMommy

Wife to a teacher extraordinaire... Mama to Five littles... Conservative Catholic Christian with a Strong Environmentalist Mentality... Respecting Life... Living for our Savior... Learning to trust God in all things.
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