Archdiocese of Newark Issues Guidance to Priests, Religious, and Parishioners regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Archdiocese of Newark continues to monitor the questions that are arising about the potential spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states that the Diocesan Bishop “must promote, regulate, and be vigilant over the liturgical life of his diocese.” In light of the coronavirus, the uncertainty of how widespread and impactful it is and/or could be and as a precaution, Cardinal Tobin has directed the following:

  • Priests, deacons, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are urged to practice good hygiene, washing their hands before Mass begins and/or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer solution before and after distributing Holy Communion—as is practiced in so many of our parishes and institutions already.
  • The Archdiocese has always advised the faithful that sickness is a valid reason not to attend Mass or other Church gatherings. As such, any individual who is sick or has flu-like symptoms is urged to stay home. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is broadcast on several television channels and the sick can make a “spiritual communion” until they return to good health.
  • The sign of peace should be exchanged without physical contact.
  • Distribution of the Precious Blood of Christ from the chalice to parishioners is to be suspended. Furthermore, no member of the faithful is obliged to receive the Body of Christ on the tongue.

The general message from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is that all should be prepared, but not panicked. The Archdiocese will continue to monitor advisories from Catholic and other organizations regarding precautions on the coronavirus and share any appropriate information with the faithful and the parishes.

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