Celiac and the Eucharist


Ok, so I know that for someone with Celiac disease, he/she should only receive the Precious Blood, or a low-gluten host if one can be obtained. So forgive me if I’m thinking this through too much, but how does one practically receive from the chalice only during Communion?

I’ve seen it done where a parish only offers the Body of Christ; special arrangements are made for that person to receive from their own chalice after the consecration but prior to the general congregation receiving the Eucharist.

But say that a parish offers Communion under both species, one line for both. Under normal conditions, the Body of Christ is received first, then the communicant walks further down to receive the Blood of Christ before returning to his/her seat.

How is this done for one who has Celiac? Does the person with Celiac approach the minister who is holding the Body of Christ and bow but not receive, then go receive from the chalice? Arms crossed to the priest so that the priest does not attempt to give the host to the person? Walk straight past the Body of Christ to receive the Blood? I’m trying to visualize how exactly it will be done. Would there be any surprised looks from the priest if one skips the Body of Christ and goes straight to the Blood? Does a discussion with the priest always need to take place prior to Mass so the person’s intentions are made clear beforehand? Thanks,


Call the parish office and speak to your pastor. Explain the situation and ask for his direction. It will work best when everyone is on the same page on how to handle it.


At my home parish, I receive a low gluten Host.

When I am visiting a parish, I do pretty much what you say. I walk up, bow, then turn and walk toward the Chalice. I DON’T cross my arms in front of me.

I don’t normally discuss it with the priest before hand. I have received some surprised looks, but only from EMHC. Priests don’t seem to bat an eye.

I did receive a blessing from our bishop once, because I bowed then turned, but he stopped me and gave me a blessing. I received a low gluten Host from our priest and the bishop smiled. After Mass, he approached me and apologized for not realizing what I was doing.


There is a lady at our parish who has “severe wheat allergies”. Communion is not offered under both species at our parish, so what she does is to approach the altar at the same time as the EMHC’s. There our priest knows her story and offers the cup to her before offering it our EMHC’s.

I have seen her at another parish for daily Mass where Communion is offered under both kinds. What she does then, is to sit on the end of a pew near where the cup is offered. When people begin to line up for Communion, she exits her pew (opposite direction of most) and is first in line for the cup. Even if the EMHC’s don’t “get” it, I’m sure most priests do.

When she knows we will have a visiting priest, I have seen her check with him in the sacristy prior to Mass to make sure all are on the same page.


Following this thread. :thumbsup:


I have celiac disease, and have done most all that has been suggested. When I visit another parish that serves the Precious Blood, I will line up for the cup, bypassing the Host entirely by going up the other aisle. Usually, the EMHC will look a little surprised, but will offer me the cup. Only once in my life has the cup minister questioned me!! I whispered that I had celiac disease, and there was no problem. In my current parish, we do have the low gluten host, so there is no problem. However, many years ago before the low gluten host was an option, I would line up with everyone else. My priest was aware of my inability to receive and would just nod at me as I bowed, then approached the cup. I have served as an EMHC for at least 20 years, and in the earlier days before the low gluten host, when we lined up on the altar, my priest would bypass me as he served all of the other ministers, and the cup minister would serve me along with the other ministers. It wasn’t disruptive at all- and I doubt anyone in my former parish even knew that I had celiac disease! Sometimes you have to get creative- but my goal has always been to escape notice and not bring any attention to myself.


At the Latin Mass, I’ve seen people bring a little note to the altar rail that says “Celiac” or something to that effect, so the priest knows what to do. There are no extraordinary ministers, so I’m not sure how this would work in your situation, but just thought I’d mention it in case someone finds it helpful.


Wow, thanks for all the ideas! We visit a lot of parishes, so I’m trying to figure out the best way to do this.


Once again, I have learned something new for which to watch as an EMHC. Great thread.


A woman I know simply bows before the Eucharist, then turns and receives from the cup - the exact reverse of those who receive the host alone and decline the cup.


I like the idea of bowing before the Body of Christ then turning to approach the cup. I wonder: if this is done far enough away from the priest/minister, the intention of not receiving the Body of Christ might be better understood.

Going up the opposite aisle seems to draw attention or confuse the minister. I would hate to run into other communicants’ way or appear to be “cutting in line.”

Of course, a phone call to the parish office is always a good idea.


If you must walk by the Hosts in order to get to the Chalice, then just try to slip by quietly without doing anything. If you must, simply cross your arms, and shake your head, letting the minister know that you are not receiving the Host. Do not let them give you a blessing.

Get in the line for the Chalice. Treat it like you are receiving the Host: Bowing when the person in front of you is receiving, and then go up and receive.

I do not believe there should be any strange looks. You receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in either species.


Sometimes it is hard to stop them. And when the Archbishop blessed me, I certainly wasn’t going to stop him.

Get in the line for the Chalice. Treat it like you are receiving the Host: Bowing when the person in front of you is receiving, and then go up and receive.

I do not believe there should be any strange looks. You receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in either species.

The strange look comes because most people don’t walk by the Host to receive from the Chalice. It is perfectly understandable. Heck, even the Archbishop looked a little confused.


I’m sure you know this, but the Body and Blood of Christ are fully present in both species of communion (bread and wine). I knew what you meant, though. Just wanted to clarify for any lurkers out there.

The phone call is a good idea, but hopefully, as Celiac Disease becomes more well known and understood, it will be less of a surprise to the priest as well as others.


It would be better if you wait until that person is done receiving, and then bow. Otherwise you are bowing towards someone’s backside, instead of to Christ.


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