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Low-gluten Communion Hosts

Exciting developments for all Christians:

Many Christians have been unable to partake in the Eucharist because of Celiac Disease. The issue made national headlines in 2001 when the parents of a 5-year-old Boston girl with celiac disease left the Catholic Church after their pastor and subsequently Cardinal Bernard Law would not allow them to substitute the wheat host with a rice wafer for her First Communion.

Dr. Alessio Fasano, researcher at the University of Maryland published a ground-breaking study last year revealed that . . . [celiac*] disease is far more prevalent than previously thought. He told The Catholic Review, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, “If there are about 300 people in church for Mass on Sunday, then we now know that two or three of them at least are likely to have celiac.”

The Vatican requires that Communion hosts contain some gluten, an essential ingredient in bread. Just a little over a year ago a pair of Benedictine sisters, after exhausting trial and error finally found a way to provide an acceptable host.

Thanks to their patience and perseverance and after over two years of experiments, Sisters Jane Heschmeyer and Lynn Marie D’Souza, of the Benedictine convent in Clyde, Missouri,  have developed a Communion wafer that has been approved as acceptable for the Eucharist by the Holy See. With a level of gluten content of 0.01% it is safe enough for consumption by almost all celiac* suffers, according to Dr. Alessio Fasano. (Please check with your doctor)

The U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy has deemed the sisters’ bread “the only true, low-gluten altar bread approved for use at Mass in the United States.” These unexciting wafers are the result of more than a decade of trial and error by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration to develop an altar bread that is safe for consumption by sufferers of celiac disease, yet also remain in compliance with the strict guidelines of Canon Law.

To order this altar bread for your church: http://www.benedictinesisters.org/bread/low_gluten.php

*Celiac disease is a digestive disorder triggered by gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and other grains. It affects about one in 130 Americans.

You can read more about this exciting development:



2 Responses

  1. It’s so encouraging to see that kind of unthinking doctrinal rigidity replaced by intelligent, compassionate effort. If Jesus had operated in Asia, a rice host would never have been a problem!


    • I agree, I really never did see the problem with a host not having any gluten. Who knew about or thought about gluten during the last supper, there just happened to be bread on the table.


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