A Message from Bishop Love Concerning the Coronavirus
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Now that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has made its way to the United States and indeed, New York State, there has been growing conversation by many throughout the Church concerning how best to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting the Coronavirus while at Church. A number of different suggestions have been made, several of which I will share below:

  • As Christians, we are called to trust in the Lord and pray for one another and the world around us. I would encourage each of us during this time of heightened concern to pray for those who are suffering from the Coronavirus, as well as the Flu and other illnesses that they may be bathed in Christ’s love, mercy and healing grace, and be healed of their infirmity. We need to pray for the doctors and nurses and others who are ministering to the sick. It is also appropriate to pray that God will protect us (especially the young and elderly) from further contamination and spread of the Coronavirus and other illnesses.

  • We need to be intentional about practicing proper hygiene through such means as covering one’s mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing (children often need to be reminded), and regular washing of hands with soap and water, or a hand sanitizer. One of the most common means of spreading germs is through unclean hands touching one’s eyes, nose, or mouth.

  • During the Flu Season and current Coronavirus outbreak, it is recommended that we “Pass the Peace” with one another through means other than shaking hands. Verbally sharing the Peace; a slight bowing of one’s head to one another; or a friendly wave are all appropriate substitutes for the traditional handshake.

  • When receiving Holy Communion various options may be considered. First and foremost, it is important that we remember that at Communion we are partaking of the blessed Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and as such there is a certain protection through the holiness of the consecrated elements themselves. With that said, there are things we can do to help cut down on the possibility of the spread of germs while receiving Holy Communion.

  1. When receiving or distributing the consecrated host or bread, it is important to come with clean hands to reduce the risk of cross contamination. Using an alcohol based hand sanitizer just prior to coming up for Communion is strongly recommended. Placing bottles of hand sanitizer in each pew, or other strategic places in the Church can help with this.
  2. When receiving the consecrated wine, or “Blood of Christ,” despite the fear or concern some people have about drinking from the Common Cup/Chalice, medical and scientific studies have shown that it is one of safest ways of receiving the consecrated wine. One report quoting from the American Journal of Infection Control stated, “No documented transmission of any infectious disease has ever been traced to the use of the common communion cup.” There are several factors that contribute to this truth. Besides for the sacramental nature of the consecrated wine, the alcohol content of the wine and the chemical nature of the silver and gold often found in chalices, helps prevent the transmission of disease. For this reason, I strongly discourage the use of non-alcoholic wine. It is also important that the person administering the chalice, wipe the chalice with the purificator after each person receives, in addition to rotating the chalice before the next person receives.
  3. If one prefers intinction (dipping the bread/host into the cup), the person administering the chalice (NOT the person receiving) should take the bread from the hand of the person and carefully dip the bread into the wine, and then either hand it back to the person or carefully place it on their tongue. I know it is common practice in some parishes for the person receiving the wine to intinct the bread themselves, but that lends itself to too many potentially contaminated fingers and hands touching the wine and rim of the chalice.
  4. If a person does not feel comfortable receiving the consecrated wine, or for medical or some other reason cannot drink wine, please know that the Church teaches that Communion in one kind (either bread or wine) is a valid Communion complete with the full sacramental grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  5. While it is our hope and prayer that everyone will be able to come to Church each week, if you are not feeling well, particularly if you are running a fever, or have a compromised immune system, let the clergy or lay leaders of the church know so that Communion can be brought to you at home.

I pray that the above comments and recommendations are of some assistance in helping to ensure that each of our parishes are and remain healthy and safe places for brothers and sisters in Christ to come together in fellowship to worship God and to be fed and nourished by our Lord Jesus Christ through His Holy Word and Sacraments.

Faithfully Yours in Christ,


Rt. Rev. William H. Love

Bishop of Albany