Grand Rapids Diocese Makes Changes to Mass Due to Coronavirus
Grand Rapids Diocese Bishop Walkowiak announced the changes today.
The diocese says the changes were issued due to the confirmation of two cases of COVID-19 in Michigan on March 10 and because "many of our parishioners are considered high risk for contracting the virus."
The changes were announced in a statement and are effective immediately and until further notice. The changes are detailed below:
- The distribution of the Precious Blood of Christ is to be temporarily suspended at all Masses.
- If you are a parishioner with a gluten sensitivity, please contact your pastor to discuss options.
- It is left to the discretion of each communicant as to how they would like to receive the Body of Christ.
- Any Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion who feels uncomfortable distributing Communion should be allowed to temporarily step down from ministry.
- Hand sanitizer should be used by all Ordinary and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion before and after distributing the Eucharist.
- The Sign of Peace is to be exchanged without physical contact. Parishioners are encouraged to use some other gesture instead. (e.g., a nod of the head, a smile or a spoken greeting).
- Parishioners should not hold hands during the Our Father. Although holding hands is a beautiful expression of people united in prayer, the gesture is not envisioned in any Church documents governing liturgy.
- If your parish encourages a greeting with physical contact before Mass, that practice should be temporarily suspended or modified to not include physical contact.
- Holy Water fonts will be emptied and cleaned. They should remain empty at this time.
- During the celebration of confirmation, Bishop Walkowiak will not be shaking hands with the newly confirmed following the anointing with Chrism.