- In all situations, the best practice to prevent any illness is to wash your hands frequently using proper technique: wet-lather-scrub-rinse-dry.
- In addition to frequent and thorough hand washing, use hand sanitizer as needed.
- At all times avoid touching your face: particularly eyes, nose, and mouth. This is how germs enter your body.
- When you cough, do so into your bent elbow, not your hand.
- If you are sick, or feel like you might be sick, stay home.
- If you are vulnerable to illnesses, stay home.
Gathering and Worship Practices
Greeters and Ushers - avoid handshakes or hugs. Make sure that people use hand sanitizer upon entering the building. Greet them with a smile (not a handshake) and a small dab of sanitizer.
Passing the Peace - bow to one another with your hands in a prayer position, or hands on your heart, and say “peace be with you.” No hugs, kisses, or getting too close to each other’s faces.
Eucharist - The Celebrant, Eucharistic Ministers, those offering healing prayers, choir members, acolytes, and all other service participants should wash hands with soap and water directly before worship. This can be a fun addition to service preparation!
All service leaders should use hand sanitizer during the offertory.
Receiving Communion - If you do not want to sip from the common cup, receive the bread and acknowledge the cup as the chalice bearer passes by. Do not dip your bread in the wine,(intinct) as studies have shown that this spreads germs. The chalice bearer should not intinct for you, as this is also problematic. This is a good moment to remember a core principle of our Eucharistic theology: the sacrament is complete when administered in just one kind (in this case, the consecrated bread.)
Bishop Diane Bruce of the Diocese of Los Angeles writes:
“Up-to-date information is a good antidote for anxiety. Visit the website of the World Health Organization for frequent updates. Go to the page below and click “Protect Yourself” to find downloadable materials in Chinese, English, Spanish, and other languages as well as information about how to deal with anxiety over the disease:
The biggest lessons from my Asia visit are to use common sense, don’t be anxious, get plenty of rest, and eat as healthily as you can.”
Holy and gracious God, give us the strength to meet the health crisis looming around us. Enlighten researchers that they may discover the right vaccine against this disease. Guide the doctors, nurses and all medical technicians working with those who are infected to take correct actions for their care. Protect all medical staff and family or friends caring for those who are ill. Bring together the governments and governmental agencies around the world to work together to eradicate this health threat. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.