Must I receive the host?

During communion, am I allowed to drink from the chalice if I don’t receive the host?

I may have made a mistake at mass today. In my usual parish, we are offered only the host, not the chalice so this never came up. I’m not supposed to eat gluten, but because I have been taking the Eucharist weekly my health has declined so much recently that I haven’t taken communion in a couple weeks in order to give my body a break from the wheat.

I attended mass at another parish today. They offer both host and chalice. I went up in line and passed by the lady offering the host to stand in line for the chalice. After I passed her, she very sternly (and loudly) said, “Ma’am…Ma’am!” and shook her platen (is that the name for the plate?) at me. I whispered that I only wanted the chalice and got quite an angry frown from her.

I can understand that kind of reaction if I’d tried to walk out the door with the host, but I think it would have made more sense for her to quietly have explained to me that I wasn’t allowed to receive only the chalice. I was quite embarrassed at being yelled at and now I’m very upset that I might have done something very wrong.

You did nothing wrong and an EMHC calling you out like that is not only rude, but also wrong.

It is perfectly permissible to receive from the Cup only.

porthos11, thank you. Do you know where I might be able to find that written down somewhere? The CCC? The USCCB website? Another resource?

Thank you.

Diocese of Salt Lake city, but I expect other dioceses to have similar policies


Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Prot. N. 89/78 – 17498

No you are not required to receive the host, just as you are not required to receive the precious blood. I would reverence the consecrated host and then move on to receive the precious blood. My wife has done this several times when she is avoiding gluten. No one has batted an eye.

You are not required to receive the Host, just as you are not required to receive the Precious Blood if you wish to only receive the Host. You should speak to the priest at your regular parish and see if you can make some sort of arrangement for you to be able to receive the Precious Blood at Mass due to your medical condition. I’ve heard of people doing this before and the priests accommodated them. Also, she was probably holding a ciborium if it had Hosts in it. The altar boy holds the paten.

I always thought you had to take the Host & refuse the wine but you couldn’t take just the wine when the Host is available.

Ask your pastor to make sure and tell him about your gluten allergy.

No one has brought this up so I’ll chime in- my parish has gluten free hosts available for people with gluten allergies. You have to ask in advance so that they know to put one aside for you. Perhaps your parish also has that option.

It would be good if you explained to your pastor what happened, and about your allergy. He can then inform the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist about that, or may have another suggestion.

Your pastor is your shepherd, feel free to speak to him.

The education of EMHC should include that anyone with Celiac disease cannot consume wheat products because of their illness.
It is difficult enough to cope with without rudeness from an uninformed EMHC.
For the sake of sufferers of celiac disease and gluten intolerance in your parish, if you feel strong enough to approach the parish office or priest to request that this be included.
Effectively, wheat is poison to celiacs.
The dilemma, Canon Law insists that hosts made only of wheat and water are matter for consecration.
Canon 924: “The Most Sacred Eucharistic Sacrifice must be celebrated with bread and wine, with which a small quantity of water is to be mixed. The bread must be made of wheat alone recently made so that there is no danger of corruption.

It isn’t easy to ask a parish to provide gluten-free wafers, and some parishes erroneously provide gluten-free hosts that are not made of wheat for celiacs.
If there are any other avenues for hosts low enough in gluten to be potentially safe for celiacs other than Congregation of Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration,
Clyde, Missouri, I am unaware of them

What every EMHC should know:

God bless. Sad that you were hurt and embarrassed in this way.

As a celiac myself, I don’t like to ask the priests to provide true gluten-free hosts as it is an expensive option for them to import, and one doesn’t like to be a bother especially when various EMHCs are involved, who may not know me anyway.
I consume only from the chali ce as having the smallest effect on anyone else, though possibly have been considered strange, and certain have met with puzzled looks by the person with the hosts.
I don’t give the confusing messages by pausing before them but slip quickly behind the communicant before me straight to the chalice, which is also fully Christ, preferably sitting near the front on the side where I can seamlessly approach the person with the chalice without any fuss.

Many people don’t like to create any kind of fuss or difficulty or confusion for others and can be very tense leading up to Communion or any event.
It it a painful thing to negotiate the issues of celiacs at times, especially at church or public events, even funerals, also sometimes at cafes or restaurants. Best to have something of your own in your bag. Still there are many worse conditions!

There might be a misunderstanding on the part of the EMHC on what he/she thought you were trying to do.

I am sorry to hear what you went through. It seemed rather harsh. You should not have gone through all that. We do not serve two specie in our cathedral, so there is no hustle on this issue.

The hosts are not truly gluten free but gluten reduced (impossible to have real bread from wheat that is gluten free). If one has a serious enough intolerance even the minimizing of the gluten content is not sufficient.

That being said, it seems the OP’s concerns have been well addressed. It’s not the business of an EMHC whether or not you receive from them (seems like a petty pride), and a priest will have no issue with you receiving from only the chalice - I would just inform the priest lest he think something is askant (and it is the job of the priest to address what he might mistakenly perceive as either a silly inclination or idea). If you are so terribly gluten intolerant, you might need to ask the priest if there could be a chalice that has not been commingled with the Body (if you would otherwise never receive communion and the priest’s chalice is what is used to distribute the Blood).

Some years ago I was on Lough derg in Donegal and in the Church was a large sign, that gluten free wafers were available; just ask . I have seen the same in some other churches here in Ireland. Surely a simple enough provision and kind courtesy?

Thank you for all of your kind and informative replies. I don’t want to cause a fuss or ask for gf hosts at my own parish. I was just visiting the parish where this incident happened. I think it would probably be less disruptive to skip taking communion when I visit there rather than cause problems. Mostly, I was concerned I had inadvertently done something wrong. Thank you all for your help.

No EMHC would want to upset anyone at such a sensitive moment. It sounds like she was trying to be helpful. - maybe she thought you were confused in the medical sense? (No offence meant!)

At the station where I usually stand, there ae at least two coeliac people who can’t even risk the low-gluten altar-bread. They simply slip out of the line while the person before them is receiving, and divert across to the chalice. No disruption needed. Please don’t worry.

Another person brings their own lg altar-bread and pyx (it’s easy to buy both) and it’s put on the corporal before Mass and consecrated with the rest. Then at Communion time, it can be placed with the bowl to be taken to whichever station she will be using. Again, no problem.

I’d like to think any parish would be helpful. Mind you, perhaps we are especially sensitive in our Archdiocese, as a previous Archbishop was coeliac and pulled someone up at a meeting when they complained that catering for coeliacs was too much trouble, and they should just make a spiritual communion instead. ‘Oh yes?’ he is reported to have said, semi-humorously, ‘You’d deny me Communion in one of my own churches, would you?’
The point being, that up until that moment, it wasn’t general knowledge that the Arch was ceoliac as so little fuss had ever been made about it.

Guten-free is invalid matter for the Eucharist. What is permitted is low-gluten.

I had an incident at daily Mass this week. I have celiac disease also and receive from the cup. When I got to the front of the receiving line, I went to the cup as I usually do. The EMHC glared at me and did not offer me the cup. I quietly and quickly explained I had celiac disease and only receive from the cup. Then she said I didn’t bow, (I did). Finally, she handed me the cup. I have no idea why this happened. I have been receiving mostly this way for the past 10 years. I don’t recall receiving from her though.

I believe that you done nothing wrong, it is a shame however that the EMHC acted so rudely during the reception of Holy Communion.
I would suggest talking to your pastor at your parish about your health problems, I believe a gluten free Host could be provided.

And you’d be dead wrong…

*]Does a gluten free host invalidate the Eucharist?
*] Must the Eucharist contain wheat?
*] Does the Church offer gluten-free hosts?

Apparently so, thanks for the links always looking to learn.
Am I correct in assuming that only receiving under one species is perfectly permissible?:confused:
One of your links answered my question, thanks.:thumbsup:

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