Catholicism and my family


Greetings all, I’m hoping you will help me as I’m feeling very abandoned. I was born, baptized, and raised Catholic, attended church and cadacism every Sunday, and I joyously took my first communion when I was eight.

My problem is that when I was an infant I was diagnosed with celiac disease (a series of food allergies) and can not digest gluten, specifically wheat. My first communion was done with a rice cracker. Now that I am an adult I’ve moved to a different state, and I’ve taken my family to three different churches in town I have been ostracized by them as my first communion was “invalid” because it was not wheat leavened bread.

Father Vance, who gave me my first communion didn’t think there would be a problem substituting the wafer for a rice cracker, and now the day I received my first communion feels tainted and no longer special. This was a day I held dear for over twenty years. I’ve always loved my religion, but now that my first communion has been invalidated I don’t know what to do. I can’t help that I’m allergic to Jesus, but I don’t want to leave Catholicism. There are no other Catholic churches in my area and I’m really out of ideas.

Yours in Christ,


I am sorry you feel so hurt by the bad information given to you as a child.

Do you not live near a parish where you can receive the Precious Blood via the cup? The whole body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ is present in either the the Host or the Precious Blood so you only need to receive one or the other to fully receive Jesus.

If you are so sensitive to wheat that you cannot receive from the Cup due to small particles of the host having been broken into it then you can usually speak to the pastor about receiving from a vessel where a small amount of the Precious Blood has been kept separated from the host. If you DO belong to a diocese/parish where it is customary to only receive the host, you can still ask the pastor if he can allow just you to receive the Precious Blood. You can sometimes do this even if traveling if you you are able to notify the celebrant with sufficient time prior to the start of Mass.


I am a little confused that under religion you have put “none” but you profess to be a life ling Catholic. Just wondering about that.

As far as receiving Christ, the Precious Blood is one possible option. Christ is fully present in both the Bread & the Wine, the Body and the Blood.

Speak with the Priest. If he refuses to work with you, or does not treat your plight with the care that it deserves then contact your Bishop.

Above all maintain your love for and your faith in the Holy Catholic Church, The One and Only True Church, founded by Christ and Promised to Last Forever, Prevailing even against the Gates of hell!

May the Good Lord Bless You and Your Family Always!



I selected that because at this point I just kind of feel kicked out, I haven’t felt welcome at church in several months. It’s gotten to the point now where I leave and wait in the car for my wife and children when the line to form communion starts.

As far as receiving the Blood of Christ, this was my preferred method when I was growing up as I did not want to trouble the Father with a rice cracker every week. The Church I’ve attended for the past few months offers the cup (the previous two did not), but I was told by the Priest I’ll need to have another First Communion with a wheat leavened wafer first since mine was not valid.

There will be serious health consequences to eating wheat, but I don’t know of any other options. I want to belong to my church, not just attend…


The priest is mistaken. You are not required to go through the whole First Communion process again. If he won’t see reason, go to the bishop.


Like the previous poster I find it hard to believe that you must repeat your First Communion. I was not aware that a host made from wheat was required for First Communion. (A rice cracker is considered invalid matter but since you actually have been receiving the Precious Blood, you HAVE received your First Communion.)

The only possible issue that I can see is that when you make your First Communion it is supposed to be offered to you by a priest or bishop. It may very well be that you have never received the Precious Blood from a priest because in almost every parish I have been in the Precious Blood is offered by a deacon or an EMHC. But even if your actual First Communion was illicit, that would not make it invalid!

Maybe there is some administrative action that needs to be handled.

Are you aware that there are such things as low gluten wheat hosts? I know that severely allergic people have problems even with these but I believe that one need only receive a small crumb so as to keep the amount of wheat gluten as small as possible.


I would see no reason (or way) for you to repeat your first communion, because each communion would have been valid since you have been receiving the Precious Blood. You already had your first communion! I can see why you’re upset, and I would definitely contact your Bishop about it. This is worth making a big deal over!


No, you don’t need another First Communion if you have received via the cup you have received a First Communion. Did you also receive the cup at your FC Mass? If not then they can just designate a day that you did as your FHC. Have you looked into the low gluten hosts? Or have you considered receiving a small piece of a host if your allergy allows? Or you can receive a regular host once or twice a year and deal with any symptoms if you really want to receive the “bread”. Read the following and see if it helps-


Please don’t leave Mass during communion! Even if you can’t receive, you can make a Spiritual Communion which brings many blessings.

Each priest does what he feels is appropriate based on his knowledge. I am not aware that First Holy Communion needs to be with the host, but obviously your current priest does (and he has more knowledge than I). I realize that the priest at your old parish thought he was overcoming your health issues, but rice is not an acceptable matter for the Blessed Sacrament (and he should have known that!) However, when you received the Precious Blood, you did receive full communion (but again, it may be that First Communion must be made with the Blessed Sacrament in the form of a consecrated host).

There are several types of low-gluten hosts made these days. Ask the priest if he can get some to use for you if just for the one ‘repeat’ First Communion. When you made you First Holy Communion --20 years ago?-- those types of hosts were very uncommon if they were made at all and that may be why the priest then chose another route.

Remember also, that even though there is great grace and value in frequent reception of the Bless Sacrament, we are only obligated to receive once a year. This may be the cross that Christ is asking you to bear. Again, a spiritual communion also benefits us with graces and consolations.

I will be praying for you.


Dear FugueInBMinor,
I feel terrible about your situation, especially because you have received some incorrect advice from your priest. I have a cousin with Celiac Disease, so let me try to give you the best information that I can.

  1. Until VERY recently, Celiac Disease was virtually unknown among the general public. It was certainly a situation that was rarely dealt with in the church. Most priests have never encountered someone with the illness, and fewer still know the proper procedure for dealing with it. Most problems occur out of simple ignorance.

  2. In order to be considered valid matter, a host MUST be made with wheat. It is true that a rice cake will not suffice. That would be invalid matter. This is an absolutely unchangeable teaching of the church. Now, that said, it is almost certain that the priest would have consecrated wheat bread hosts for the congregation, and wine along with the rice cake. This WOULD have rendered the Blood of Christ valid matter. If you received the Precious Blood at your First Communion, then you DID receive your First Communion… along with a bit of ordinary rice cake. If you did NOT receive the Precious Blood, then whichever Mass you first received the Precious Blood at ended up being your First Communion. Either way, there is absolutely NO reason to have to go back and have another First Communion. It’s already happened, and your priest is in error. This sounds like an honest mistake that arose out of good intentions. If your priest has a problem with this, it is probably ALSO out of an honest misunderstanding. Educate yourself, and present your situation to the Bishop. He should be able to provide you a letter, or intervene in some way, to clarify your situation. A letter would help if you go to another parish on vacation.

  3. There are low-gluten wafers that are made that contain only the tiniest trace of wheat, but are still considered valid. Some people with Celiac Disease can tolerate these ok. If you are able to tolerate these, your local bishop should be able to assist your priest in finding low-gluten wafers. If you cannot, the church should require the priest to make arrangements for you to receive the Precious Blood by itself. You should notify the priest of this ahead of time, however. Now, if the tiny amount of bread in the wine is a problem, as stated above, even this can be taken care of. Even the tiniest drop of the Precious Blood or the tiniest crumb of the Host contains the entire Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. Communion under both species is never necessary, although it usually works the other way, with people only receiving the Host, and not the Precious Blood.

  4. Again, rest assured that you are welcome in the Catholic Church! The unusual nature of your disease with regard to Catholic doctrine simply means that you have to be armed with information, contact the correct people, and be prepared to explain your situation over and over, with documentation if necessary. The documentation will only be needed once, and I’m sure the priest will become familiar with your rare situation.


I second this, there are other options


Firstly I’d like to thank you all for the incredible responses, I’m feeling much better about things. To answer a few questions, my first communion was done with only the host, and every time I’ve partaken of the Precious Blood, it has not been administered by a priest. I’m not sure how much that matters at this point.

As a child I probably could have tolerated a low gluten host, but as I’ve gotten older my reactions have been more severe to smaller and smaller quantities. I’d be afraid if I took the Body of Christ even in a low gluten host that I’d have to miss work the next day.

I think my best bet is to talk to the Priest, but I’m afraid he already sees me as a bit of a troublemaker, when I asked if I could receive the Blood and only the Blood in a different cup or be the first to partake he thought I was just trying to “stir things up and make trouble”. I think he’s a good man, but set in his ways and ignorant as to my little predicament. I worry about talking to the Bishop as I don’t want to give him another reason to consider me a troublemaker.

I think what I’ll do is try to meet with him this Sunday before mass starts with some literature about my disease. It’s been said that he’s misinformed about me needing to have my first communion again, I don’t know how I’d react to him saying this again. Is there any literature on that I could bring with me as well?

I really appreciate all your help, God bless all of you!


Please try to make an appointment and not try to discuss this just before Mass starts. He has preparations to do and should be in a prayerful state then, not worrying about this issue. If you can get over to the church one evening or on Saturday that would be better. Then he will have a bit more time to focus on you.

If your parish does offer under both species regularly, there shouldn’t be a problem with you being the first (or among the very first) to partake. Simply sit near the front and bypass the host and go directly to the chalice.

We do not receive under both species at this parish. There are a few people at my church who have celiac disease and they receive the Precious Blood from a separate small chalice that the priest consecrates alongside his. It doesn’t appear to be a big deal for the priest or for them. They simply come up first and he gives them communion before the rest of us.


Same at my parish. Celiac disease is becoming more common, so there are a few people who only receive the Precious Blood. No one makes a big deal out of it, though. You’ll be fine. Just talk to the priest to see if he can do the same for you.


I’ve found exactly what you need. Here are documents from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican’s Committee for Divine Worship containing the guidelines for reception of Communion by people with Celiac Disease. This is as official as it gets. Bring printouts of these to your priest. This should help tremendously.

A Short Introduction to Holy Communion and Celiac Sprue Disease

The Use of Mustum and Low-Gluten Hosts at Mass
Pastoral Notes on Celiac Disease
and the Reception of Holy Communion
from the Diocese of Madison**
(Although this is not from your particular diocese, this gives really good instructions on the procedures that are typically followed.)


Make an appointment to talk with him. It’s better than ambushing before Mass. Print out the article(link I gave you or from Rolltides) from the US Bishop’s website to bring to him as well as anything you have about your disease.


I also have Celiac. I also am VERY sensitive. Once there was a crouton in my salad. I didn’t eat the crouton and stopped eating the salad once I saw the crouton. I was sick for a couple of days.

I receive the low gluten host every week. From their web site:

The measurement cited here, 0.01%, represents 100 PPMs (parts per million). But the more important number is 37 micrograms, because it is daily exposure to gluten that counts. The best current information shows that 10 milligrams a day should be safe.

Make an appointment with your priest.


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