So you are officially diagnosed with Celiac and have to change to a Gluten Free diet. Ok you’re fine with that, there are many Gluten Free options available now. BUT you are also now a Gluten Free Catholic! What does that mean for you being able to participate in sharing the Holy Eucharist during mass?
First, call or visit your parish rectory and ask to speak with your pastor. I find that many churches now have gluten free hosts on hand that your priest can consecrate so you can participate in the Holy Eucharist.
At my home parish, I try to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to mass. When I arrive at church, I go directly to the Sacristy to let my parish priest know that I am there. At Assumption Church in Bellevue, we keep a separate Pix along with unblessed gluten free hosts in a cupboard. I take one host and place it in the pix then ask my priest where he would like me to put it. Sometimes I place the pix right on the altar and other times in the ciborium on the side table depending on which priest will say mass. I check with my priest to see where he’ll stand to distribute communion so I can sit on that side of the church. I try to sit close to the front as a visual reminder. Our priest will hand me the pix, I step to the side and receive the Holy Communion. After receiving full communion, I take the pix back to the sacristy and place it back in the cupboard for the next person. I then return to my seat for my quiet prayer time.
Since my husband and I travel to New Jersey quite frequently to visit our son and his family, we have found a church near his home. When we first started to go to Christ Our Light Church, I just didn’t receive communion. But now I’ve introduced myself to the priests and ask about gluten free hosts. Their format is similar, I arrive early enough to let them know I am there. They keep a few pix marked “gluten free only” in a drawer. When I arrive, I go to the drawer and choose a pix, go to the refrigerator and take out one gluten free host and place it in the pix. If the priest or deacon is in the Sacristy, I introduce myself and let them know I am there for mass. I can then take the pix and place it on the table in church with the wine and other hosts to be consecrated during mass. I always make sure I sit in a pew that allows me to easily enter the communion line for the priest.
If the priest forgets or wasn’t in the Sacristy for me to let him know I was there, I just remind him when it’s my turn to receive the Holy Eucharist.
I recommend calling the church in advance, they can then tell you who to meet with when you arrive at mass. This is also a good way to meet the priests and deacons of the church you are visiting and letting them meet you. I have to say, I always feel very welcome when we visit new churches and by introducing myself, I feel much more a part of the parish family.
While I can’t guarantee that all churches keep a supply of gluten free hosts on hand, many do. If they don’t, ask if you can bring one of your own. Our parish priest allows me to take a few unblessed gluten free hosts with me if I am traveling, just in case the church we visit doesn’t.
I hope this helps you when you travel. Being able to receive the Holy Eucharist when I’m traveling and attending mass at a new church allows me to keep the feeling of mass with me all day/week.
Gluten Free and Catholic