Is it okay to wash down the Eucharist with water?

My son just made his First Communion at the beginning of the month. He has some food texture issues and a very sensitive gag reflex. Unfortunately, he is having some difficulty chewing and swallowing the Eucharist. I think it is a combination of the size and texture of the host.

Since I don’t want him to gag (he has thrown up food at home when he tries to force something down), I have been allowing him to go to the bathroom for a drink of water after Communion. He says that once the host starts to dissolve, he can chew and swallow it okay. Is this all right?

Water does not break the Communion fast and there is no minimum time between receiving Communion and receiving food or liquid afterward. My only concern is your practice of letting your son “go to the bathroom for a drink of water after Communion.” I assume you mean that you allow him to leave Mass, with Communion still in his mouth, to go to the bathroom for a drink of water. (Or, worse, carrying off the host to the bathroom to wash it down as if it were a pill.)

Communion should be consumed immediately upon reception. It should not be taken anywhere, for any reason. One solution might be for your son to be given a smaller piece of the host for consumption. (He could politely ask the priest, the deacon, or the EMHC to break off a small piece of the host for him when he approaches the minister for Communion.) Another solution might be for him to receive the host on the tongue and hold it there until he can return to his seat in the pew and discreetly take a drink from a bottle of water. Or, your son might bypass the host altogether and receive Communion from the chalice when the precious blood is offered.

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