Every so often, we are asked why we don’t offer gluten-free hosts for communion. Although it would be wonderful to do so, the Vatican has stated that hosts completely free of gluten are invalid for the celebration of the Eucharist. Hosts valid for consecration must be made with some degree of wheat.

Low-Gluten Hosts

Saint Patrick Catholic Church does offer low-gluten hosts. Anyone desiring to receive such should approach the celebrating priests down the center of the aisle and verbally request the host. These hosts are purchased from one of the few Vatican-approved suppliers, the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Missouri.

Low-Gluten and Celiac Disease

The following is an excerpt from the supplier’s website:

“The breads have been tested by independent laboratories and deemed safe for most people with Celiac Sprue Disease. The low-gluten breads are produced in a separate facility to prevent cross-contamination and are made from water and wheat starch that has had most of the gluten removed. In 2004, Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland, maintained that the amount of gluten contained in one of these low-gluten altar breads (tested at <.01%) was so minute a celiac sufferer would have to consume 270 wafers daily to reach the danger point. A test done in 2016 indicated the gluten content was less than .001% or 10ppm.”

The Precious Blood and the Valid Reception of the Eucharist

Acknowledging that even the lowest amount of gluten can be harmful to someone with Celiac Disease, it is important to remember that receiving the Precious Blood from the cup alone is still a complete and valid reception of the Eucharist and includes the recipient in full communion with the rest of the congregation.