The Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind as the country and in fact the world continues to try to cope and understand this illness.
Concerns over spreading the virus have caused a reexamination of some of our habits and the way we interact with each other. Granted the current numbers of those with the virus is low, for now, still practical and common sense practices should be considered by all.
Even here at St. Elizabeth’s, awareness and reevaluation of some of our practices is important. The diocese recently put out some basic guidelines and suggestions for parishes and their liturgies. Common sense hygiene is the main thing in all areas of our lives.
People who are sick are encouraged to stay home. It is certainly not a sin to miss Mass because of an illness. Eucharistic ministers and in fact all of us should correctly and thoroughly wash our hands and the use of hand sanitizer is encouraged to be used by all ministers. As usual, all vessels used in Mass should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water after each Mass.
Receiving from the cup is something that immediately comes to mind. Receiving the Blessed Sacrament from the cup is still encouraged as receiving both forms of the Eucharist is the fullness of the Sacrament. Even though the alcohol in the wine does help in the controlling of germs etc., obviously those who are sick should refrain from the cup. Intinction, the dipping of the host in the cup, is forbidden. Care should be taken in considering how to receive the host, whether in the hand or on the tongue, keeping in mind the possibility of spreading viruses of all kinds.
The sign of peace is also something to be considered. The shaking of hands is something experts are asking all of us to be aware of and how germs are spread. Some have suggested simply bowing to one another is a possible option. I am considering “chest bumps” or the “hitting heads” (as in football) or tapping one another’s shins with a hockey stick. Joking!!!!
In general, common sense and awareness is the rule and there is no need to overreact to the growing Covid-19 virus. As this situation unfolds, there may be coming restrictions and further steps taken in controlling this virus.