Last Updated on April 27, 2022
Today, we’re going to be answering the question: are communion wafers gluten free? And taking a look at whether those with celiac or gluten intolerance can take communion. Communion may be something that’s important to you if you follow the teachings of Christ. And at your Communion, you’ll drink from the Cup of Life and eat the Bread of Life (which is usually a round wafer). But is the wafer gluten-free? Let’s take a closer look.
What Are Communion Wafers?
Communion wafers are what you’ll be given at Communion to symbolize the Bread of Life. They’re usually a small round wafer, typically made of wheat. You may know it better as Sacramental Bread.
Learn more about: Are Nilla Wafers Gluten-Free? (& Where To Buy Them)
What Happens At Communion?
At a First Communion, it’s the celebration of the decision you’ve made to follow the teachings of Christ. To symbolize the Cup of Life, you’ll drink wine and to symbolize the Bread of Life, you’ll eat Communion Wafers.
Nutritional Information Of Communion Wafers
If you’re wondering what the nutritional value is of a singular Communion wafer, then look no further. Each wafer contains the following:
- Fat: 0g
- Carbs: 0.5g
- Sugars: 0.5g
- Protein: 0.5g
Communion Wafer Ingredients
There aren’t many ingredients at all when it comes to Communion wafers. Some wafers may differ, but typically, they’re made from:
- wheat flour
Are Communion Wafers Gluten Free?
As you can probably tell from the list of ingredients, Communion wafers are most definitely not gluten-free. The main ingredient in these wafers is wheat, which is a gluten-containing grain. While we usually would be telling you to avoid wheat – it’s hard to do so if you’re Catholic and wanting to take Communion, as all Communion wafers contain gluten.
However, you can use reduced gluten wafers for Communion. However, the wafers must contain at least some gluten. And unfortunately, it’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself as to whether you want to take Communion or not. The Catholic Church states that at least some wheat must be included in Communion wafers.
Why Do Catholic Churches Not Allow Gluten Free Communion Wafers?
The Catholic Church states that the Communion wafers you consume must, “contain a sufficient amount of gluten to obtain the confection of bread”. While Communion wafers are known to symbolize the Bread of Life, it goes deeper than that. The wafers are the consumption of Christ’s flesh – and this can only be achieved by using wheat within the wafers.
Low-Gluten Communion Wafer List
If you’re wondering where to obtain low gluten Communion wafers, then look no further. We’ll be taking a look at low gluten Communion wafers that have been confirmed safe for those with Celiac disease. While they do still contain gluten, it’s below the safe amount for those with Celiac disease at 20ppm. They will be made from wheat flour or wheat starch, but a much lower amount than usual. Rice flour, tapioca flour, or any other type of flour is not permitted when it comes to Communion wafers.
In the UK, there are several companies that offer low gluten Communion wafers; many of which can be delivered to you if you’re not local. The following companies offer celiac friendly Communion wafers:
Charles Farris Ltd.
Tel: 01747 861839
Grace Supplies Ltd.
Linden House Business Centre
1 Convent Lane
Kingston upon Hull
Tel: 01482 218089
The Gluten Free Altar Bread Co.
PO Box 846
Tel: 07761 260503
St Josephs Workshop Ltd
190-194 Bag Lane
Tel: 01942 883210
Whether you use their website or the telephone number provided, they’ll be more than happy to assist you with any queries or questions you may have regarding Communion.
If you’re from the US and looking for a low gluten alternative, there’s a great website called Celebrate Communion which has a dedicated gluten-free section. It’s important to note that some of their options are low gluten (which contains wheat) and others are gluten-free (and do not contain any wheat). Before you make any purchases, check with your church what they’re happy for you to use.
I hope this article has helped to answer the question: are Communion wafers gluten-free? Unfortunately, they are not gluten-free and you’ll likely need to have a conversation with your church to determine the best course of action when it comes to your Communion. They’re usually very accomodating and will try to make the Communion as smooth as possible for you.
Have you taken Communion whilst following a gluten-free lifestyle? If you know of any tips or any other suppliers that offer gluten-free/low gluten Communion wafers, please do let me know in the comments below. Sharing is caring!
Read more about: Can Gluten Intolerance Go Away?
Can Celiacs Take Communion?
Yes. Celiacs can take communion. However, you will have to consume wheat. There are many low gluten options you can use - but wheat must be an ingredient in Communion wafers. While this may not be something you're comfortable with, it's something that the Catholic Church requires.
What are Gluten Free Communion Wafers Made of?
It depends on your church. Some churches will be happy for you to use entirely gluten free Communion wafers, which will be made from ingredients such as potato starch, and other naturally gluten free ingredients. Low gluten wafers will contain wheat, but it will be below the recommended safe amount for celiacs of 20ppm.
How do Churches Handle Gluten-Free Communion?
Most churches will offer gluten free/low gluten options. The gluten free Communion wafers will often be individually wrapped to avoid any cross contact. And also, if a communal cup is used (which is very common), you may need to use a separate cup too, to avoid cross contact. Many gluten free Communion wafer suppliers also offer cups to purchase, with juice inside for gluten free Communions.