As of Tuesday 10th March 2020, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have heightened Coronavirus protections to Stage 2 of the guidelines. Some of the measures of this stage are already in force within the Archdiocese of Cardiff following the Archbishop’s instruction of 6th March 2020. The key points for parishes to take into consideration are given below and re to be implemented with immediate effect.
- Suspend distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds (the Sacred host to be given on the hand only).
a. When giving communion in the hand seek to ensure you place the host in the hand of the recipient in such a way that you do not touch their hands.
- Suspend the physical sign of peace. Archbishop George has already highlighted that if a Sign of Peace is to be exchanged a bow or simple not of the head will suffice.
- Remove holy water stoups.
- Ask everyone attending Mass to sanitise their hands as they come into church using sanitized gel dispensers (make these available in porches or entrances).
- Ensure ministers of Communion sanitise their hands before and after distributing Holy Communion. This can be done by washing hands discreetly before proceeding to the sanctuary or using good quality hand gel discreetly.
a. Remember to use good hand washing and gel use technique. Click this link for a hand washing technique guide.
- When visiting parishioners at home, wash hands before giving the sacraments. No pastoral visits to people who are self-isolating until isolation ends. However do offer phone support.
- Visits to people in care homes or Hospitals should follow advice from the staff on infection control.
- Public veneration of relics and the Cross on Good Friday should not be by kissing or physically touching them.
- Advise those most vulnerable (elderly, people with weakened immune systems and long term conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease) to refrain from parish gatherings and stay at home.
- Stop the use of shared hymn books and missals which could help transmit the virus.
- Ask anyone with cold or flu symptoms to refrain from attending services and events and not to attend the sacrament of reconciliation (Confession) if symptomatic (A person may just have an ordinary cold but it’s important to ensure a precautionary approach).
- Ensure very regular cleaning of surfaces lots of people touch regularly. Clean door handles before and after every Mass.
- Do not pass the collection plate around.
- Suspend catering (teas, coffees etc) at parish gatherings where multiple people touch mugs, utensils, biscuits etc.
Fundamental to all our actions to try and contain the spread of the virus is to ensure that everyone maintains good hygiene especially at Mass and parish gatherings
a. The best way of protecting us from spread is still for everyone to use universal good hygiene, which will effectively disrupt spread of the virus. So display the public information poster attached, which states:
i. Catch it – sneeze into a tissue
ii. Bin it – bin the tissue
iii. Kill it – wash your hands with soap and water
iv. Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands
Click Here to download the Catch it, Kill it, Bin it poster.