Recently the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments published a Letter to Bishops on the bread and wine for Eucharist. The letter became the stir of the internet as it was promoted as “The Church Bans Glutton-Free Hosts.” In fact, the letter was a reiteration of current Church teaching. In any case, this issue may have an impact on liturgies at your school.

This is a good opportunity to review with your students the importance of the matter and form of the sacraments. The host, made of unleavened wheat bread, and the natural grape wine are the “matter” of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

More, in the sacraments, the Church uses elements from creation (such as water, bread, and wine) and human culture (such as washing or anointing) to make God’s grace available to us. The traditional physical element(s) and/or gesture(s) used in each sacrament are called the matter of the sacrament.

The celebration of each sacrament also involves solemnity. The traditional words said for each sacrament are called the form of the sacrament. When you hear these words, you know that the sacrament is taking place. God is truly present, filling you and others with his love and grace.

As far as the current announcement from the Vatican, this article “The Matter Matters: Unpacking the Vatican Guidelines on Bread and Wine for the Eucharist” is an excellent resource.