Gluten Intolerance - My Communion - Help


I live in a country where medically, issues surrounding gluten intolerance is strange even to the best of doctors. I was only fortunate because during the period I was suffering from all the bloatings, abdominal pains, body aches etc I had a discussion with my Aunt who lives in the States and who suggested I eliminate gluten from my diet. I did, and felt relieved, it was like a miracle, well, or so I thought until I went for mass and started feeling funny again. The mass is my life, just like so many people in this forum, and I go everyday, it keeps me sane. Receiving Holy Communion is the high point of my day each day so you can imagine how I felt when I realised that each time I received communion I reacted, I cried.

My Aunt suggested I go gluten free for two weeks and then reintroduce gluten just to ascertain if its gluten intolerance. I also went to the hospital here and the physician also advised the same thing. I had to stop receiving communion by day 3 of the gluten free trial days and rely on Spiritual Communions pending when a lasting solution can be found.

I did mention that gluten intolerance is strange in my country right? My Spiritual director was more understanding and is helping to find a solution to the issue for me. My confessor believes that I am reacting to it because of my lack of faith, he and a host of other people…as far as they are concerned, its no longer bread and should have no “bread” effect on me. My parish priest said he has to speak to the Archbishop first, its three weeks since then and no news. Christ has been good to me and for this past three weeks of only Spiritual Communion I still feel His presence like I received Him physically.

Based on my local physician’s advice, I was to reintroduce gluten today as the test and trust, my first gluten was Holy Communion at afternoon mass today. Still same thing, migraine, foggy feeling, joint pains, abdominal pains just between the distance of the Church and my office. So, I guess why I am telling all this story is because, I am now having to face the reality that I may not be able to receive “Communion” like and with everyone else.

Here are the issues, in a week I attend about 3 to 4 different parishes. Weekdays I go for afternoon mass at the Cathedral which is a stone throw from my office. Saturday, if morning I go to St. Gerald, if evening I go to St. Agnes. Sunday I go to my local Parish. What do I do, go to the Archbishop’s office myself and get a letter addressed to these Parishes? The Archbishop’s Secretary believes I am lacking in faith so I wonder if he will allow my case get to the Archbishop? Then, secondly, we do not have approved low gluten host here in Nigeria, so I will need to ship it from the Benedictine Sisters. Will they agree to ship it to a shipping company that will ship it to Nigeria and I pay? I read from their website that it has a life circle of 6 months, but I am wondering if its 6 months with steady power supply for freezing cause here we still have serious power challenges. I also need an interpretation to the cost; what I saw on their website is “Low-gluten People’s Bread (30 Ct.) $5.25” is that the cost of 30 pcs or 1 pc? I know ordinarily the wine alone should suffice but I doubt if any Parish will be willing to give it on a regular basis to anyone, its expensive here.

I guess I just needed to pour my heart and ask that you pray for me. In all of these, I know His grace is sufficient for me.


You can also receive precious blood only, instead of a host. It is possible to consecrate a small amount just for you.

I am sorry that you are running into such obstacles. The opinion that this is “lack of faith” is not Catholic teaching, nor is it Catholic teaching that the accidents cease to have their material properties.

I suggest you reference this document when speaking with the hierarchy in your diocese:

This is an official document of the CDF and Discipline of the Sacraments.


I have known people who in similar cases, would tell the Priest beforehand and they would ask to receive a very small portion of the Host. That seemed to help them and since you are receiving Jesus completely with even the smallest particle it may work for you as well. I am surprised that your Priest would believe as you say he does in regards to the Host not having any effects on you except through your disbelief. that is an extremely strange and not at all correct understanding of what actually takes place.

As has also been said, you could receive just the Blood, but I know that some Parishes don’t even offer it.

Good luck.


Thank you so much.

Just the document I need right now. Will share it with my Parish Priest and the Archbishop’s Secretary.

So just to ask, the part that says ‘the Ordinary is competent to give permission for an individual priest or layperson to use low-gluten hosts or mustum for the celebration of the Eucharist. Permission can be granted habitually, for as long as the situation continues which occasioned the granting of permission’, does it mean that I must get an express approval or permission from the Archbishop? Is that the practice in the States?


I don’t really know. I am guessing individual pastors or someone in the diocesan office have been delegated this in the US as far as the low-gluten host aspect. It’s pretty common and I doubt the pastor is going to the bishop every time. I am guessing this was worded this way b/c what you don’t want is individual pastors out there getting “no gluten” hosts which are invalid matter. To prevent that, it sounds like the requests for low-gluten hosts have to have some sort of check/balance.

It seems that to receive Precious Blood only there is no permission needed.


Ok, I’m going to confess that I’ve had celiac disease for 20 years so I certainly know first hand about being unable to receive even a particle of gluten!! When I was first diagnosed, my solution was to only receive the cup- and obviously not the one that had the tiny piece of consecrated host in it. The priest was supportive, even though celiac was rather uncommon at the time and gluten free wasn’t as popular as it is now. When I was accused of lacking in faith (by a nun, no less!!!), the priest reassured me that I was being prudent, not faithless. My advice to you is to seek a parish that serves the cup, and to be first in line to receive. Also, hopefully, the parish that serves the cup will have a supportive priest. My 2nd advice is to order the special hosts ( they’re LOW gluten, not gluten-free), buy a pyx to be kept in the tabernacle, and have Father consecrate a week’s worth at a time, to be stored in the tabernacle, in the special pyx. I did this at one parish (cup wasn’t served) and received after Mass. This avoided cross-contamination from the handling of regular hosts during the distribution of communion- and didn’t interrupt the flow of the people coming up to receive. Currently, I receive the cup- and even when I receive on the altar because I’m serving, the cup used is one without the little piece of host. I doubt anyone even knows that I have celiac disease. I’ve lived in 4 cities since my diagnosis, and have been able to successfully work out a way to receive without disrupting Mass!! I have lots of experience- don’t hesitate to PM me if you need more ideas!! But definitely don’t dispair- you won’t have to give up receiving the precious body and blood of Christ!


We are just about to start offering a low gluten host in the parish where I work. I’ve spent a lot of time learning about the issues, challenges, as well as the joy that this option provides people in your situation.

I live in American and our bishop’s conference has a wonderful document prepared on this topic that helped me give good information to the people I work with and the priests I work for. Perhaps the conference in your country has something similar.

Above all, don’t loose faith or hope. Keep steadfast in prayer for an answer to this situation and be persistent in holding people to the deposit of faith.


Everyone has given you wonderful advice. My only addition (besides prayer!) would be to start with one parish and once you get things worked out there, you can explain to the other priests how it worked out. Maybe start at the Catherdral where you go to daily Mass since the priests there are hopefully a bit more knowledgeable. Also, an afternoon Mass might be quieter and less ‘busy’ than a Sunday Mass.


Thanks everyone. So many wonderful and useful advice already. Gluten intolerance is not common in this parts, no Bishop documents on it and its strange to a lot of priests. We don’t even have low gluten hosts manufactured here so if I have to buy it will be by importation. Since all this is in its nacient stage, I don’t know yet if its Celiac or non celiac gluten sensitivity. All I know is that since I went gluten free, any slight contact with gluten seems to affect me negatively.

I read somewhere in one of the ‘gluten’ related posts that it doesn’t matter if you react or not, once its Celiac then you shouldn’t be taking any form of wheat at all in which case its should be the wine. The reason why I ask is because I intend to meet with the Cathedral administrator next week to present my case to him so that I will receive just a tiny particle of the flesh. If I do so and there is no dramatic reaction like I experienced today, does that mean I am ‘good to go’? Secondly each Parish here has more than one priest. At the cathedral there are atleast 3, St. Agnes, about 5 different priests (its a very large Parish) does that mean I have to introduce myself to each of them and tell my story to them?


My Archbishop asked for a doctor’s note. Yep, just like back in school and you were out sick.

I think he does it to weed out those that eat gluten free as a preference, rather than for a medical reason.

I was able to receive the low gluten host until I got the note.

His policy is, you can receive whenever you are in town, or if you live here, you have to have a note.

My pastor also keeps the low gluten hosts in a separate pyx


I’m sorry about your struggles and Celiac’s disease. It’s a difficult decision which requires a serious lifestyle change, my wife has it. I’m completely unfamiliar with the low gluten options, but will state though that even the tiniest crumb containing gluten can have real repercussions for a staggering amount of time for someone with actual Celiac’s disease.

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