A gentle reminder about the reception of Holy Communion by those with a gluten intolerance (also known as coeliac condition). The possibility of receiving communion under both kinds at every Eucharist is always preferable as we can more fully respond to Christ’s command: “Take this all of you and eat it… Take this all of you and drink from it…”

When making a separate chalice available to provide those with a gluten intolerance the chance to receive communion, it should not be placed on the altar or on a side altar for them to come and take themselves. Each sacrament is always given to us by another person. A minister of Holy Communion should give communion by the Precious Blood to them, standing in a designated place.

Please remember that people with a gluten intolerance can have a very serious health reaction to consuming even a tiny particle of a host. Therefore it is very important that people do not ‘cross-contaminate’ a chalice provided for the possibility of their receiving communion by the intinction of their Host into the chalice. Imagine going forward to receive communion yourself only to find that you cannot because of other people’s lack of consideration.

We recommend that a notice making clear the Holy Communion arrangements for those with a gluten intolerance is placed clearly on a notice board in your Church. For parishes that offer communion under both kinds regularly the following notice might also be placed in the weekly participation sheet:

We invite those who wish to receive communion under both kinds not to dip their Host into the chalice out of care for those with a gluten intolerance for whom cross-contamination can be very painful.