Statement from Archdiocese of Washington on Coronavirus

The Archdiocese of Washington issued the following statement on the coronavirus on Feb. 28, 2020. The guidance expressed in this statement is excerpted from a letter to parishes that day. The archdiocese’s statement follows a recent statement by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on a Catholic response to the outbreak.

Pastors may wish to remind their parishioners, in whatever manner is appropriate within Mass, no one is ever under an obligation to shake hands during the Sign of Peace (a statement of peace, bow or other gesture is appropriate) or to receive from the chalice. Christ is fully present in each species when the bread and wine have been consecrated into His Body and Blood.

Pastors may also wish to remind their parishioners they can receive the Body of Christ in the hand instead of on the tongue. It is up to the discretion of the pastor, if there is great alarm at this time, you may also consider discontinuing – temporarily – the practice of offering Communion under the form of Precious Blood, as well as to take other precautions you deem necessary.

Further, anyone who is ill, or suspects he or she is ill, should refrain from receiving from the chalice out of good will, or if warranted, refrain from participation in public activities, including Mass. If you need to refrain from Sunday Mass, you are dispensed from the Sunday obligation.

[February 28, 2020]