With the global concerns over coronavirus impacting everything from study abroad programs to the release date of a blockbuster franchise film, the local Catholic church is the latest institution taking steps to stop the spread of the virus.
Both the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Trenton announced new rules during Mass to help prevent coronavirus (COVID-19).
The directives to parishes within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which are effective immediately, include the following:
- Priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should wash their hands with soap and water before and after Mass. Extraordinary ministers may also use a hand sanitizer in the pew before Holy Communion.
- Distributing the Precious Blood from the Chalice to ministers and parishioners has been suspended.
- The invitation to the Sign of Peace is optional and pastors should consult their community to determine the best way to observe it.
- Holy water fonts must be drained and refreshed more frequently than normal to avoid any contamination.
- Intentions for the prevention of the coronavirus and those impacted by it should be included in the Universal Prayer.
The new rules for Mass from the Diocese of Trenton include the following:
- Priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should wash their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizers before and after Holy Communion.
- People are encouraged to not receive Holy Community on the tongue and receiving it by hand is preferred.
- Exchanging the Sign of Peace through physical contact such as handshakes, hugs or kisses has been suspended.
- Distributing the Precious Blood from the Chalice has been suspended.
- People who have flu-like symptoms or are feeling sick should not go to Mass or other Church gatherings.