"We've been wanting to jazz up the host for awhile now," he told Beliefnet. "People come to church to receive Communion. People like mint. One day we were all sitting around and it was like, 'Ah ha!'"
Although the peppermint host will be available to churches around the world, it was designed specifically for churches in the U.S., where individual parishes have been playing around with the idea of changing the wafer since 1967, when Eucharistic ministers at the Our Lady of Perpetual Grief Church in New Mexico began experimenting with flavoring the host with lemon. They found the flavored Eucharist was drawing bigger crowds and church collections went up 25 percent.
Vatican officials had conducted trial runs of many other flavored hosts before choosing mint, including raspberry, banana and strawberry cheesecake.
Parishioners will still have the option of receiving the unflavored host.
According to one Philadelphia churchgoer, Margaret Sawyer, who sampled an unconsecrated host earlier this week, "It tastes great. Just because we're sharing Communion doesn't mean we can't have fresh breath afterwards."
However, not everyone's raving about the new wafer. Jason Appleton, of Buffalo, NY, said he will opt for the traditional host. "I'm all for change," he said. "But I don't think bread that could be transubstantiated into the Body of Christ should taste like Crest."