How soon after my surgery can I receive Communion? I am afraid to take a sip of wine at church, what can I do? I am just 2 weeks post op, can I eat just a small piece of Communion wafer? What happens if I don't?

Many members of faith do not want to sit out when it is time for Communion but are concerned that they cannot physically handle the wafer or wine. We have the definitive answer for you.

A handful of years ago, Sister Mary Margaret had gastric sleeve surgery and has lost over 100 pounds. She is a valued member of our Bariatric Eating Support Group on Facebook. We asked Sister for her inside info on Communion after weight loss surgery.

First, let's ask ourselves what we mean by Communion. The term is derived from Latin communion (sharing in common). Every Christian church celebrates Communion in some form using bread or a bread-like substance, and wine or (in churches where alcohol is not permitted) grape juice. Celebrating Communion can - and should - deepen our faith experience.

That being said, you've just had major surgery and your doctor has you on an all-liquid diet for a good reason! Your new pouch is not ready for solid food, not even sacred solid food. It is still solid food, regardless of your denomination. No amount of faith is going to turn actual, factual bread into something magical - nor does any church teach that it does! Trust me on this one.

Remember, Communion is meant to be food for the soul. In other words, while our senses perceive bread and wine, our soul recognizes something more.

Should you take Communion during the liquid phase? Absolutely not! Can you "share in common" with your Creator without taking Communion? Absolutely! The formal name for this is Spiritual Communion. You do this any time you invite Christ into your heart.

Many Bariatric patients will boast about taking Communion right after surgery, and they had no complications. While this may be true with the overwhelming majority, please do not assume that you, too, will be part of the 95%. The liquid phase lasts only a short time. God understands, He is willing to wait for you while you obey your doctor, and is so very pleased to see you developing the virtue of patience!

This may not be the Communion that you had wanted, but it is what you needed to hear. You will be back in the Communion line before you know it!

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