My dear parishioners and friends,
As we all know, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading. We are monitoring the situation closely, working with the Archdiocese of Washington and local health departments. All of us must heed prevailing recommendations to protect ourselves and others from this virus.
We also need to turn to the Lord in prayer. We pray that the virus will disappear quickly. We pray for those who have died or been sickened by the virus, for all health care professionals, and for governmental and health care leaders managing this fluid public health situation. We pray that we and our loved ones are kept safe and healthy.
Precautions at St. Matthew's
With positive cases of the virus confirmed within our region, St. Matthew's has taken steps to prevent its further spread. Specifically, we urge you to observe the following precautions put in place at all Cathedral liturgies:
- Refrain from shaking hands during the Sign of Peace (bow or verbal gesture is appropriate).
- Refrain from holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.
- Please prayerfully consider receiving the Holy Eucharist only in your hands instead of on the tongue to mitigate any transmission of saliva.
In addition, we have taken these precautions:
- Priests, deacons and EMCs are being reminded to practice good hand hygiene, washing their hands before Mass and using hand sanitizer that is available near the sanctuary, to cleanse hands before and after the distribution of Holy Communion.
- We ceased distribution of the Precious Blood (Christ is fully present under both species of the Blessed Sacrament).
- We removed Holy Water from the Holy Water fonts.
- We are ensuring that Eucharistic vessels are washed with hot water and soap after each use.
Information for Individuals
We echo and strongly urge you to follow these public health recommendations from the Archdiocese of Washington:
- Anyone who is ill, or suspects he or she is ill, should refrain from participation in public activities, including Mass. If you need to refrain from Sunday Mass due to illness, you are dispensed from the Sunday obligation. Those who are homebound may watch the weekly Archdiocesan Sunday Mass online at adw.org/tvmass.
- Practice good personal health habits. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then, throw the tissue in the trash. Hands should be washed often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- The Catholic Standard has published an article with information relevant to our local community and will continue to provide information in the coming days. Read the Catholic Standard article
You can find more information resources below.
You and your loved ones are all in my prayers, and I ask for your prayers for me and my staff. May God protect us all.