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Celiac Policy Effective Nov. 12/13

Effective the weekend of November 12-13, Bishop Kulick has implemented a policy to provide access to the Eucharist for those individuals who suffer with Celiac disease.  This policy permits those individuals to be provided access to the chalice of Precious Blood.  Implementation of this policy requires a number of practical actions to be undertaken.  SEE BELOW

Over recent years, we have become aware of the challenges faced by those who suffer from gluten intolerance. In many parishes, opportunities are provided for the faithful to receive consecrated, low gluten hosts. However, for those individuals incapable of tolerating even the slightest amount of gluten, it is desirable to provide another option for receiving Holy Communion.

At this time, reception from the cup of Precious Blood remains restricted to the priest celebrant and concelebrating priests. However, it is permissible to provide this access to those who cannot receive low gluten hosts. Providing this access will require some practical and pastoral consideration before the implementation of this option. Below are listed some considerations and suggestions for those who seek to implement this practice.


In most cases, it will be necessary for the communicant to announce their presence before Mass and their desire to receive from the chalice of Precious Blood. Those responsible for preparing the vessels will need to prepare a special chalice for this reception. The designated communion minister will also need to be made aware of the presence of this communicant.

Cross Contamination

Those who suffer from Celiac Sprue disease are incapable of tolerating even the slightest amount of gluten. Therefore, it is essential that a special chalice be prepared solely for their consumption. In addition to this requirement, our current regulations prohibit individuals from sharing a common chalice. Therefore, it is essential that a chalice(s) be prepared for each individual who is to receive the Precious Blood.


Each parish will need to consider the procedure that best facilitates those individuals who are to receive from the chalice of Precious Blood. Some options include:

     The communicant(s) may approach the Altar at the same time as the communion ministers.

     The communicant may come forward in the communion procession. When they approach the designated communion minister, that minister will retrieve the prepared chalice from the Altar.

      The designated communion minister may place the prepared chalice on the corporal at the sanitizing station. When the communicant approaches that minister, they are greeted with the words: “The Blood of Christ.”


The communicant is ordinarily responsible for purifying the chalice from which they receive the Precious Blood, after Mass. The communicant will need to be made aware of this responsibility. In cases where multiple chalices are prepared this will require some method of identifying the chalice for which they exercise this custody.


As with the implementation of any new procedure, it is necessary to provide some training and information for those impacted by this new practice. This includes communicants, sacristans, priests, deacons, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and the assembly. It will prove necessary to inform the faithful of this option. Specifically, it is necessary to inform each communicant of procedures and practices to be followed and they are to be provided with proper catechesis and training for the correct and dignified purification of the chalice.V


Please remember that vessels used for the distribution of Holy Communion are sacred because of the very action they facilitate. Therefore, any vessel used for the distribution of the Precious Blood must be durable, non-porous, not breakable, and dignified. It is not permissible to use glass, clay, wood or any disposable items for this action as any vessel used for the distribution of Holy Communion is permanently reserved for this sacred action.

General:  Updated

The recently issued policy statement on Celiac disease touches upon a related matter that is beneficial to highlight.  In the churches of the Diocese of Greensburg, it is still required to have a sanitizing station at every Communion Station.  Below is the practice, for sanitizing, that is to be followed for the distribution of Holy Communion.

·        All Communion Ministers are to sanitize their hands after receiving Holy Communion.

·        After sanitizing their hands, they should receive the paten or ciborium and move to their communion station.

·        Communion Ministers are to sanitize their hands whenever they make physical contact with a communicant.

·        Communion Ministers are to sanitize their hands after distributing Holy Communion to those communicants who receive on the tongue.

Because of the need to sanitize during the distribution of Holy Communion, it is necessary to have near each communion station a small table with a corporal and hand sanitizer

     Other pandemic procedures that remain effective include these:

·        The vessels containing the bread and wine are to be covered if they are presented in procession at the Preparation of the Altar and Gifts.

o   In such cases the ciborium is covered with a lid, the flagon or cruet is to have a stopper.

·        Large, Concelebrants Hosts are not permitted.

o   It is not permissible to share with other communicants fractions from the priest’s host.

·        Vessels containing the hosts to be distributed to the assembly should be placed on the Altar at a distance from the priest.

o   Ideally these patens or ciboria are to be placed at least three feet from the priest.

o   Only the vessels containing the elements that will be consumed by the priest should be placed directly before him at the Altar.

       The chalice of Precious Blood may not be made available to deacons or other members of the assembly.

o   When concelebrating priests are present, they may receive by intinction.  Alternatively, a separate chalice may be prepared for their use.

o   Those who suffer from Celiac disease are an exception to this norm.  In such cases the procedures detailed in the appropriate document are to be observed.

·        Purification of the vessels requires that those individuals who have consumed from a chalice(s) are responsible for purifying those vessels.