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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Communion
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19 posts in this topic

I had an interesting thing come up yesterday that never crossed my mind until it happened. I have been gluten free for 1 month now and this Sunday at Church I was in line to get communion when it occured to me, "I can't have the bread for communion!" Of course I am moving closer in the line and starting to panic, what should I do, what should I do? As a Christian the thought of giving up communion is a very sad thought so I figured I should be okay with just a little wafer of bread right? Well, now I know better. I have had D and a horrible migraine headache that ibuprofin won't even take the edge off of. I have felt horrible the last two days. Now the question is, how do I take communion? I don't think as a Christian I can give that up. I will talk to the Pastors about bringing in my own bread but I don't always know what weeks we are going to have it. Do I bring bread every week just in case?

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I had an interesting thing come up yesterday that never crossed my mind until it happened. I have been gluten free for 1 month now and this Sunday at Church I was in line to get communion when it occured to me, "I can't have the bread for communion!" Of course I am moving closer in the line and starting to panic, what should I do, what should I do? As a Christian the thought of giving up communion is a very sad thought so I figured I should be okay with just a little wafer of bread right? Well, now I know better. I have had D and a horrible migraine headache that ibuprofin won't even take the edge off of. I have felt horrible the last two days. Now the question is, how do I take communion? I don't think as a Christian I can give that up. I will talk to the Pastors about bringing in my own bread but I don't always know what weeks we are going to have it. Do I bring bread every week just in case?

I'm not sure about your particular church, but I would suggest you speak to a Pastor. Different churches/religions have their own guidelines about this but I'm sure it's come up before and between the two of you come up with a plan that will allow you to participate in Communion.

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I am Lutheran but teach in a Catholic school and both have the option for gluten-free wafers. My church had gluten-free wafers for me. A student in my school has celiac and they have gluten-free wafers for her during mass. It works well if you receive communion first every week so that there are not crumbs on the hands of whoever is giving out the bread/wafers. I just go first in line every week and the student at my school goes up for communion with the eucharistic ministers and is the first one to receive communion with that group. I know some churches use actual bread pieces or loaves of bread and if that's your church maybe you could provide bread or speak with them about gluten-free wafers.

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Talk to your pastor. I am Catholic and my church offers bread and wine. I receive just the wine. My pastor offered to purchase rice wafers for me. If your intent is to receive communion - God knows that. He does not want you sick.

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I don't know what size your church is but for smaller ones I think it's easier. My church has communion once a month, either on trays that are passed through the pews, or by intinction where we go up front and tear off a piece of bread and dip it in the juice. So on Sundays when we do intinction there are gluten-free wafers for me (since we know that gluten free bread falls apart when it's dunked, lol). For the other Sundays we now use gluten free bread. :) I kind of wish they hadn't done that since the gluten free bread is so expensive. I would have been happy with a wafer on the tray, or in a little container or something. But anyway...that's what we've done.

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I had an interesting thing come up yesterday that never crossed my mind until it happened. I have been gluten free for 1 month now and this Sunday at Church I was in line to get communion when it occured to me, "I can't have the bread for communion!" Of course I am moving closer in the line and starting to panic, what should I do, what should I do? As a Christian the thought of giving up communion is a very sad thought so I figured I should be okay with just a little wafer of bread right? Well, now I know better. I have had D and a horrible migraine headache that ibuprofin won't even take the edge off of. I have felt horrible the last two days. Now the question is, how do I take communion? I don't think as a Christian I can give that up. I will talk to the Pastors about bringing in my own bread but I don't always know what weeks we are going to have it. Do I bring bread every week just in case?

The Benedictine Sisters make a low-gluten altar bread that has been certified safe for most Celiacs, and they are approved for use by the Vatican. I think most Celiacs would have to eat 200 at a time before feeling ill....so many people can consume them safely. They sell to parishes, other churches and directly to individuals (who carry them in a pix and give them to their pastor beforehand to be blessed). You might check with your pastor first, to see what he likes to do. Here's a link to the Benedictine Sisters altar bread info: http://altarbreadsbspa.com/lowgluten.php. Good luck!

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If your intent is to receive communion - God knows that. He does not want you sick.

I once heard someone say that they just partake in Communion (like normal) and eat the bread and drink the wine even though they're coeliac.

They quoted that:

I just take the bread and eat it and I suffer afterwards. But It's Christ's body; and He went through far more suffering than I ever have.

I'd be interested on your perspective with regard to this particular matter...

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If you take communion with gluten weekly on that theory, you would simply never recover. Lots of us are ill for a week or more after consuming gluten. Christ had a particular mission that ended with an episode of extreme suffering. I can't think God's plan for most of us is to be too ill to work or care for our families for the rest of our lives.

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My pastor gets gluten free bread for me. The servers put it in a little bag (after washing their hands) and my neighbor will open the bag from the outside and I will take the piece of bread out. I sing in the choir so I am always sitting next to the same people so they are used to my gluten free needs. My pastor said that he tried some of the gluten free bread and doesn't know how I eat it. Given that they get it for me I told him that I am happy to have what they provide (which I am) but not to worry because I eat a better type of bread when I buy it for myself. One day he apparently forgot to bring the bread (they keep it at their house so it doesn't get used by others) and someone went and bought a loaf since he didn't bring it.

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I once heard someone say that they just partake in Communion (like normal) and eat the bread and drink the wine even though they're coeliac.

They quoted that:

I'd be interested on your perspective with regard to this particular matter...

to me, communion is about atonement, not suffering. i don't remember the part in the bible where it says Jesus had D for me. but whatever floats your boat.

i bring my bread in a little snackie bag to church and take it out and eat it at the altar where everyone else is receiving the host and the pastor blesses it along with all the regular bread. last week i forgot it in the pew and had to dash back to get it and everybody smiles and asks me after the service "oh, you forgot to bring up your bread didn't you?" i hope everyone has such love at their church as i have in ours. they are truly our church family :)

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Thanks for the responses everyone. I go to a small Church with around 200 members and the pastors are more than willing to work with me. I just need to find out what weeks we have Communion so I can be prepared. I agree, it is about atonement and being forgiven and not about me suffering personally. I am finally feeling healthy and don't think God wants me to start feeling sick again since I believe this diagnosis was an answer to prayer. Thanks again for the advice everyone.

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Here are the wafers I mentioned in my post, the ones we use at my church on Sundays when we go up front to receive. They're made by Ener-G. I hope I'm allowed to put a link here. Not sure about that, so if it gets deleted just google "gluten free communion wafers" and look for Ener-G.

http://www.cokesbury.com/forms/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=352972&vsl=0001

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i kind of relate. it was important to me to have communion but since my diagnosis. i knew it was too risky. i miss it at times and all that it signifies but i cannot hurt my body like that. i do not think that is what God wants me to do. it depends on the church i go to. the one has it where i have to buy and bring gluten-free communion wafers with me. the other church will order them and i just let the pastor know. best wishes!

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As far as 'wafers' in themselves go, I believe a recent study that I saw said that a majority of Coeliacs were able to safely eat 50mg of gluten (approx 1/100th of a slice of bread) per day over a period of time without any signs of damage to their villi.

Seeing as though communion wafers are generally 'thin' and (when crushed) would probably resemble approximately 1/100th of a slice of bread, do you think it may be ok on the odd occasion to partake in it? I'm skeptical. :unsure:

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As far as 'wafers' in themselves go, I believe a recent study that I saw said that a majority of Coeliacs were able to safely eat 50mg of gluten (approx 1/100th of a slice of bread) per day over a period of time without any signs of damage to their villi.

Seeing as though communion wafers are generally 'thin' and (when crushed) would probably resemble approximately 1/100th of a slice of bread, do you think it may be ok on the odd occasion to partake in it? I'm skeptical. :unsure:

Even if that is true, and it's not necessarily damaging your villi, it could still cause you to be sick. I believe God knows what's in our hearts. If you don't partake in communion it doesn't mean you have given up on your faith. It's a symbolic act that represents Christ's body and his blood being shed on the cross. The most important thing as a Christian is that you recognize that act, this can be done whether you participate in communion or not. If communion is really important to you I would suggest what others have already suggested and go for the gluten free bread or gluten free wafers. Yes Jesus did die on the cross for us but I don't for a second believe that he expects us to "repay" him by making ourselves sick once a week, or month, or whenever.

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When it comes to symbolic communions, bringing your own gluten-free bread should be fine, as long as you figure out the CC issue (e.g. you don't want it on the same tray with all the other gluteny communion bread).

When it comes to literal communions, such as that in the Orthodox and Catholic churches, it is different. We believe that the bread and wine physically become the body and blood of Christ, while still retaining the "accidents" of bread and wine (the appearance and effects, including the ability to make you drunk or, in the case of coeliac, sick). We also believe that the communion bread must be made of wheat in order to be validly consecrated. The low-gluten hosts that the Benedictine sisters made pass the bill because they are made from wheat starch. So they are still made from wheat, but just the non-gluten containing part.

however, there are some who cannot consume even those hosts. And in the Orthodox church, we don't have wafers but rather a common loaf which is placed in the chalice and given to the faithful on a spoon. So... what do you do, in that case?

Every particle, every drop of the bread and wine (post-consecration) contains the fullness of Christ's Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. There is no way to receive "half" of Christ. Ergo, receiving under only one species--that is, partaking of the wine only--is spiritually and symbolically the same as partaking under both. Catholic churches with coeliacs often have a separate chalice for them to avoid CC. In my home parish (Orthodox) I used to receive a single drop of wine from the chalice onto my tongue, which the priest would check for visible crumbs first. (worked fine for months. I am now too sensitive in this new parish for doing that so I will talk to my priest about having a separate chalice consecrated for me.)

Basically, if you don't want to mess with gluten-free bread, or if you cannot because your church does not accept gluten-free bread as valid, then partaking of the wine/holy blood alone is fine.

As long as your parish/congregation is not using intinction, or a common cup which everyone's glutened lips are touching (although in that case you can just go first).

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I guess I'm lucky because there are 4 of us who are gluten intolerant in our church, so our pastor has stocked gluten-free wafers for us. We only have communion once a month, so it's not like he has to do it every week. He tries to be pretty discreet about it so others in the church won't notice that we're getting different bread. But it doesn't really matter to me if anyone else knows. I just think he doesn't want us feeling weird. It's funny because I was the last one of the 4 to go gluten free, so the last time we had communion he forgot to hand me the "special wafer," and I had to discreetly remind him. We use intinction, so I haven't had a problem with the wine/juice.

I hadn't thought about the whole issue until one of my fellow gluten intolerants at church mentioned it to me.

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Talk to your pastor. I am Catholic and my church offers bread and wine. I receive just the wine. My pastor offered to purchase rice wafers for me. If your intent is to receive communion - God knows that. He does not want you sick.

Do you ask them not to put the host in your wine? Cause the wine has host pieces in it from everything I have been taught (raised Catholic all my life).

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Do you ask them not to put the host in your wine? Cause the wine has host pieces in it from everything I have been taught (raised Catholic all my life).

That is only if there is one chalice. There is a part of the Mass where the priest symbolically breaks the host and drops a piece in the chalice. However, if there are a lot of parishioners and therefore more than one consecrated chalice so they may all partake under both species, the other chalices do not have this piece in them.

They may, however, become CC'd when others partaking in communion normally drink from them.

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