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Statement on Behalf of the Archdiocese of Chicago Regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines

March 3, 2020

The following was shared with Archdiocese of Chicago priests regarding coronavirus/COVID-19 public health concerns and our liturgical practices. Based on guidance from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Divine Worship, the following guidelines are to be implemented in all parishes within the Archdiocese of Chicago effective immediately:

All priests, deacons, altar servers and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion must wash their hands before Mass begins and use an alcohol-based, anti-bacterial solution before and after distributing Holy Communion.

  • Discern how to do this to best maintain the reverence of the Mass.
  • Ensure all vessels used at Mass, once purified, are thoroughly washed with soap and hot water after each use.

During all Masses and liturgies:

  • Refrain from physical contact during the Sign of Peace (note: the Sign of Peace can be exchanged without physical contact)
  • Refrain from distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful via the chalice (please consider options for any parishioners with celiac disease or sensitivity)
  • Given the frequency of direct contact with saliva in the distribution of Holy Communion on the tongue, every consideration should be given by each individual to receive Holy Communion reverently in open hands for the time being.
  • Refrain from holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Refrain from using Holy Water fonts.

Faithful who are sick or are experiencing symptoms of sickness are not obliged to attend Mass, and out of charity they ought not to attend.

  • Catechism 2181 allows for serious reasons like illness.