Liturgical celebrations and public health concerns
From: Vicar General <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, March 2, 2020 4:55 PM
Subject: Liturgical celebrations and public health concerns
This message is for all priests and deacons in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
We continue to monitor with concern the questions that are arising about the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19. As a matter of prudence, the following guidelines, based on guidance from the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship, are to be implemented in all parishes within the Archdiocese of Chicago effective immediately.
All Priests, Deacons, Altar Servers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion must wash their hands before Mass begins and use an alcohol based antibacterial solution before and after distributing Holy Communion.
Discern how to do this to best maintain the reverence of the Mass.
Ensure all vessels used at Mass, once purified, are thoroughly washed with soap and hot water after each use.
During all Masses and liturgies:
Refrain from physical contact during the Sign of Peace (note: the Sign of Peace can be exchanged without physical contact)
Refrain from distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful via the chalice (please consider options for any parishioners with celiac disease or sensitivity)
Given the frequency of direct contact with saliva in the distribution of Holy Communion on the tongue, every consideration should be given by each individual to receive Holy Communion reverently in open hands for the time being.
- Refrain from holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.
- Refrain from using Holy Water fonts.
- Assure the faithful that if they are sick or are experiencing symptoms of sickness, they are not obliged to attend Mass, and even that out of charity they ought not to attend.
Explain when the Church allows for you to miss Mass – Catechism 2181 allows for serious reasons like illness.
Make parish or bulletin announcements encouraging best health practices.
Finally, please join in praying for all those who are sick, and perhaps add a General Intercession at Mass for those affected by coronavirus and other communicable diseases.
Bishop Ron Hicks