Saint Ann's Parish offers Low Gluten Hosts for those with Celiac Disease. Please contact the rectory 617-825-6180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to contact Father Makos to discuss your need and to obtain a personal pix. Please notify The Presiding Priest and/or altar server before Mass begins.
Our low gluten hosts are made by the Benedictine Sisters. To learn more about the Benedictine Sisters please click on the link below. http://www.benedictinesisters.org/
The concern… Celiac disease affects as many as one out of every 133 people. Those suffering from this condition cannot ingest any gluten, a protein found in wheat. Eating gluten causes intestinal damage and can lead to many secondary illnesses. Celiacs have to maintain strict gluten free diets to protect their health. Hence, the concern among Catholic celiac sufferers was how they could continue to receive the Body of Christ at Eucharist when it is made with wheat. Since the mid 1980s, we have received calls from faithful Catholics who hoped that we could find a way to provide an altar bread that would fit their special needs. We decided we would give it our best effort.
The prayer… The Catholic Church is firmly rooted in Scripture and Tradition. In keeping with the belief that Jesus used a wheat bread at the Last Supper, the Church has required that breads used for communion be made with wheat and contain gluten.
As stated before, the celiac community needed non-gluten bread. We prayed for divine inspiration as we began to research how we could meet the requirements of both these groups we hoped to serve.
The facts… Our low gluten bread is made with wheat starch and water. The gluten content is less than 0.01%. It is made, stored, and shipped in a designated area free from all other wheat products.
The answer… Throughout the years of our research and development we stayed in touch with the Office of the Secretariat for the Liturgy of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops. Through their help we discovered a company that produced wheat starch, which is wheat that has had most of the gluten removed. We began experimenting with this new product. There were many failed attempts and much frustration — the resulting breads were either too thin, too hard, or inedible. Then one evening, as our sisters were working, Divine Providence intervened. When mixing the ingredients, the result was a sticky, messy batter that seemed hopeless. They plopped some of it onto the baking plate and then decided to throw out the rest and start over. When they opened the baker they discovered a round, crisp, light wafer that tasted delicious. God had blessed our efforts with success.
The Story of the creation of Low-gluten breads
The Church's response to us… The Office of the Secretariat received our samples and test results and issued the following statement.
Having reviewed the laboratory reports you sent, which set the amount of gluten in these altar breads at less than 0.01%, I am pleased to state that these special hosts are indeed made according to the requirements of both the Code of Canon Law (c.924) and the special considerations set out by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, in his July 24, 2003 letter to the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences (Prot. N. 89/78-17498) and may be validly used at Mass in the diocese of the United States with appropriate permission.
The Celiac community's response to us… Since we began selling these breads we have served over 2000 celiac sufferers. Our low gluten altar breads were featured in an article in the magazine Gluten-Free Living. The editorial and accompanying write-up cited data from the Center for Celiac Research that showed that the less than 0.01% gluten content of our breads would be perfectly safe for most celiacs. The article states
The measurement cited here, 0.01%, represents 100 PPMs (parts per million). But the more important number is 37 micrograms, because it is daily exposure to gluten that counts. The best current information shows that 10 milligrams a day should be safe.
Ten milligrams is the same as 10,000 micrograms. If you divide 37 micrograms into 10,000 micrograms, you will find that you would have to eat 270 wafers every day to reach the danger point. At most, celiacs would consume one wafer per day or about 0.04% (four tenths of one percent) of the amount considered dangerous.
Our response to you… We are inspired by the deep desire of those suffering from gluten intolerance to receive Holy Communion. We are humbled by the many letters, emails, and phone calls we have received thanking us for our efforts to produce low gluten altar bread. We are blessed to have the opportunity to allow God to work through our hands. We are honored and privileged to provide for you and your parish the bread that becomes the Body of Christ.