Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Like all of you, I continue to follow news about the spread of the coronavirus, COVID 19. The CDC states that for the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low. All the same, the situation is of concern and needs to be closely monitored. Out of caution and for the protection of our parishioners, the Diocese recently shared with our priests information as a reminder that:
- At all times those distributing Holy Communion must be mindful of the need for good hygiene, washing their hands before Mass and even using a hand sanitizer before and after distribution of Holy Communion
- Parishioners should be assured that if they are sick or are experiencing symptoms of sickness they are not obliged to attend Mass.
Precautionary measures were also suggested for our parishes: suspending the exchange of the sign of peace or instructing that it be done without physical contact; and suspending the distribution of the Most Precious Blood to the faithful via the chalice during Holy Communion. I think these are sensible measures to be taken during this time of heightened concern over the possible transmission of this coronavirus.
As we ask the Lord for protection from widespread illness, let us also pray for healing for those who are suffering in this current outbreak of sickness and for the repose of those who have died.
+Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V.
Resources on the Coronavirus
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Department of Homeland Security
Catholic Mutual Backgrounder on Virus Preparedness
WebMD: Epidemics, Pandemics & Outbreaks
USCCB Statement on Catholic Response to Outbreak of Coronavirus (February 18, 2020)