Have you ever wondered why after going to church on Sunday you may feel nausea and unwell? Maybe it is because you have had communion and therefore have consumed gluten without even realizing it. That's right - communion wafers are not gluten free.
The communion wafers used during the Roman Catholic mass are made from wheat flour and water. The church has deemed it necessary for some gluten to be present in the wafer to be considered a “true bread” Therefore, a gluten free wafer is not considered bread, so cannot be used for communion.
There is a very long history into the making of Communion wafers dating back to the early years of Christianity. A part of this was:- After a process of selecting and cleansing the wheat, only a baker sanctioned by the local church council was able to make these wafers. Then eventually a certain order of nuns were responsible for making these wafers but wheat flour and water were still the standard ingredients used.
This provides a difficult choice for religious celiac's who are forced not to take communion, and also for young children, who are taking thier first Holy Communion. These young children do not want to be any different from the child next to them. Until recently there has been no option than to abstain or to only receive wine during the Eucharist Service. Caution should be taken when drinking from the wine chalice that communion hosts have not been placed (dunked) into the chalice, as small particles can remain in the wine, which can be enough to cause ill effects for some celiacs.
Thanks to the dedication and patience of two nuns from Missouri, they have been able to make a low gluten wafer. This work has taken the nuns over two years and the good news is the level of gluten is only 0.01% and has been approved by the church to use during the Eucharist Service in the United States. Low gluten wafers are considered safe to eat as they contain such low levels of gluten in one communion wafer.
How do I get low Gluten wafers
Firstly start with your local parish and make your priest aware of your requirements to have a low gluten wafer. You may be surprised to learn you are not the only one and they may already have steps in place for you to receive a low gluten free wafer during the Eucharist service.
If not, contact your local Celiac society and ask where you can purchase these. Another good source of information would be local religious groups; they may be more than happy to help you out and what would be the best way to implement these into the Eucharist services.