The global impact of COVID-19 has forced many public institutions to take action to stop its spread. The Catholic Church is no exception. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Trenton announced new rules to take into consideration during the Mass to help prevent the spread of the feared virus.
The directives to parishes within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which are effective immediately, are the following:
- Hand washing with soap and water by priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion before and after mass is mandatory.. Extraordinary ministers may also use a hand sanitizer in the pew before Holy Communion.
- It has been suspended the distribution of the Precious Blood from the Chalice to ministers and parishioners .
- The invitation to the Sign of Peace is optional and pastors should consult their community to determine the best way to observe it.
- In order to avoid any contamination, Holy water fonts must be drained and refreshed more frequently than normal.
- The Universal Prayer must include intentions for the prevention of the coronavirus and those impacted by it
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.