Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Slow and Steady: Growing up on a gluten-free diet.

Nate's growing!

It's incredible and very powerful for the shortest in his grade.  This past year, all of his former CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) basketball teammates shot up and now tower over my five and a half foot frame, several are within an inch of hitting the six foot mark.  Nate, crept through half an inch in a year.  Very frustrating, especially when he attributes growing to eating correctly on his gluten-free diet.

Years ago, one of his indicators of Celiac Disease, was the sudden halt in growth.  Nate had had a steady growth cycle at the 50th percentile, and then within six weeks of weaning, Nate became very sick; loose bowels, grey-green skin color, and his little bloated tummy ballooned.  Over the next six months his growth started to slide from the 50th percentile to the fifth.  Not something a pediatrician wants to observe.  

At first, the comments from our pediatrician indicated that we were probably between growth cycles, just hitting a valley and would catch up.  Next visit we talked about how toddlers will become more active and run off all of their calorie intake.  The following visit our pediatrician questioned whether Nate might just be going through a fussy eating stage.  Pulling it altogether, Nate was remaining the same height and weight, just not changing with time; Nate will still eating great, lots of healthy dairy and grains (wheat), meat, veggies and fruit; none of it made sense.

After the diagnosis, Nate still did not grow; it took us about eighteen months to detox his system before any growth occurred.  I remember that while my friend's kids were outgrowing their clothes, handing them down to us, we were wearing-out Nate's clothes.  Shoe shopping was relatively easy; I could find a brand of shoes and buy two of the identical size, easily knowing we were not outgrowing them any time soon.  Flipping through pictures becomes difficult, as he wore the same clothes for almost two years, the only marker is the change of interest and the height in which he could climb.

Slowly the growth happened.  We have avoided painting a door frame that has been marked with the growth of both children.  Nate's, shows a steady inch a year, sometimes multiple markings in one year, to show that he had grown half an inch by mid year.  Come seven, a huge growth occurred, three inches in one year, maybe finally Nate was going to catch up!

Now at thirteen, Nate is at the 40th percentile marking, measuring just under five feet at 4' 11".  Coming from my family of six footers, I keep trying to tell him that most of them grew six inches in half a year; it comes all of a sudden and can be quite painful.  Impossible in Nate's mind.  He's never going to grow.  He is the shortest from the CYO team (basketball is not his sport any longer as it is not much fun chasing the towering teammates up and down the court.)  Nate wears the next-to-smallest robes when altar serving, which seem to always be available. Add insult to injury, Nate was charged a child's rate (ten and under) at our favorite Sunday morning buffet, even though he ate like a teenager, filling five plates of salads, potatoes, and bacon.  

This past week, having spent the week with Dad in California for the annual liturgy conference, Nate came back excited, he just knew that he had grown!  He, Nate, was able to ride the BIGGEST ride at Disneyland!  You have to be five foot to go on that ride, and surely I remember that their measuring sticks were longer than ours.  

Sure enough, standing Nate against the door frame, in the past six weeks, Nate had grown half an inch and now topped a hair over five feet.  Impossible.  A miracle.  This had never happened before, or so Nate was convinced.  Nate had grown in a month and a half, more than he had in the entire previous year.  One of the first things Nate blurted out to Sebastian the following Friday night, "I've grown half an inch."  Even Sebastian, who almost tops out at six foot, was shocked.  Friends since four year old Vacation Bible School, Nate and Sebastian use to stand within a couple inches of each other, now they look years apart in age.
Come Sunday, Nate serves again, I am sure that we need to arrive early, as we will need to try out the next size larger vestments, just with the hopes that Nate can move up.  

Monday, January 25, 2010

Letter sent to Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences from the Vatican: The official position regarding gluten and the Eucharist.

March 10, 1996 

To the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences from the Vatican. This represents the official position of the Catholic Church with regard to gluten and the Eucharist.

From Archbishop Derek Worlock.

Your Eminence/Excellency:
In recent years, this Dicastery has followed closely the development of the question of the use of low-gluten altar breads and mustum as matter for the celebration of the Eucharist.
After careful study, conducted in collaboration with a number of concerned Episcopal Conferences, this Congregation in its ordinary session of June 22, 1994 has approved the following norms, which I am pleased to communicate:
  • I. Concerning permission to use low-gluten altar breads:

    • A. This may be granted by Ordinaries to priests and lay persons affected by celiac disease, after presentation of a medical certificate.
    • Conditions for the validity of the matter:

      • 1) Special hosts quibus glutinum ablatum est are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist;
      • 2) Low-gluten hosts are valid matter, provided that they contain the amount of gluten sufficient to obtain the confection of bread, that there is no addition of foreign materials, and that the procedure for making such hosts is not such as to alter the nature of the substance of the bread.
  • III. Common Norms:

    • A. The Ordinary must ascertain that the matter used conforms to the above requirements.
    • B. Permissions are to be given only for as long as the situation continues which motivated the request.
    • C. Scandal is to be avoided.
    • D. Given the centrality of the celebration of the Eucharist in the life of the priest, candidates for the priesthood who are affected by celiac disease of suffer from alcoholism of similar conditions may not be admitted to Holy Orders.
    • E. Since the doctrinal questions in this area have now been decided, disciplinary competence is entrusted to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
    • F. Concerned Episcopal Conferences shall report to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments every two years regarding the application of these norms.
With warm regards and best wishes, I am Sincerely yours in Christ.
 Archbishop Derek Worlock of Liverpool was the leader of the fight for Celiacs in the Catholic Church.   In the 1980's, Archbishop Derek Worlock was diagnosed with celiac disease, under his leadership, he tirelessly worked to allow celiacs to receive a special host.  Eventually his request was reluctantly granted. In 1996, Archbishop Worlock died of lung cancer.

The simple black slate tomb of Derek Worlock C.H. 8th Archbishop of Liverpool from 1976-1996.   St. Joseph's Chapel of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.