UPDATED STATEMENT – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – March 12, 2020
We believe that it is our responsibility to protect the health of our parishioners while preserving their religious and essential right to attend Mass.
Given that the State of California and the County of Orange have declared a health emergency, the potential for person-to-person spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S. and to ease the concerns of our faithful, Bishop of Orange Kevin Vann, in accordance with Code of Canon Law, dispenses those who are sick or, out of legitimate concern for their health and/or the health of others wish to avoid crowded areas, from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, until further notice.
Additionally, Bishop Vann asks everyone to note the following:
- The faithful are not to hold hands during the Our Father nor shake hands at the sign of peace.
- Communion from the cup is to be discontinued until further notice.
- Receiving the host on the tongue – While there are disagreements as to whether there is less chance to transmit the Coronavirus via hand contact versus tongue contact, and always respecting the rights of the faithful to receive on the tongue, parishioners may be asked to receive communion in their hand. Also, parishioners are under no obligation to receive Holy Communion every time they attend Mass, per canon law. (cf. canon 920)
- Holy water is to be removed from the fonts and baptisterys.
- All ministers of Holy Communion who volunteer their assistance must sanitize their hands before and after distributing Holy Communion. If they wish to temporarily remove themselves from this ministry, they are excused.
- Parishes that have the ability to livestream Masses should do so.
- Pastors are asked to review Mass and parish event schedules and adjust for crowds and provide social distancing. Suggested changes include: adding Masses, including to parish halls to allow space between attendees, conducting simple, shorter Masses without music, and cancelling or rescheduling parish events, retreats or classes without penalty to attendees.
- During this Lenten season, parishioners who do not personally attend Mass and wish to fulfill their commitment to almsgiving can give electronically via their parish website or send a check directly to the parish.
Parishioners who are unable to attend Mass are encouraged to view the livestream of Mass from Christ Cathedral, broadcast each Sunday at 9:45 a.m. at https://www.facebook.com/ChristCathedralCA or 9:00 a.m. from St. Edward the Confessor Parish at http://stedward.com/stedcast/
Catholics can also contact their local parish for their parish livestream address.
A separate communications on schools is forthcoming.