Availability of gluten-free Communion hosts

Dear Editor, We regularly hear biblical references to the ‘goodness’ of wheat, but for coeliacs wheat is not all it is cracked up to be.

What are the chances of ‘no gluten’ or ‘low gluten’ breads being used for Mass? I have had challenging encounters both in Ireland and abroad as my teenage daughter and I struggle to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist. Celebrants vary greatly in their interpretation of ‘receiving’ Holy Communion.

Some have told me that it is only ‘correct’ if we are ‘given’ the host, necessitating the handling of our hosts with the same hands that handled the regular hosts.

Others are happy to have us collect it at the altar at Communion time, but not every coeliac is happy to ‘stand out’ in so doing. My daughter wonders why holding the pix open in our seats during the consecration is ‘not correct’. Attending a new church for family occasions like weddings or funerals is so problematic that we have ‘given up the ghost’ when it comes to Holy Communion.

Medical people need to be consulted on the issue of cross-contamination i.e. receiving from the chalice is not recommended to us. Priests need to be made aware of the realities for coeliacs. By nature we have to be vigilant but varying practices in Mass can be very unsettling. Many Church ‘rules’ have changed over the years. How about a move on this one? 

Yours etc., 

Laurena O’Donoghue,


Co. Meath.