The Archdiocese of Birmingham is currently observing Stage 2 guidance in their Coronavirus advice for parishes. They have asked that we share the following information with you.
The key things for parishes to do under these circumstances are:
1. It is likely you will need to suspend distribution under both kinds (the host to be given on the hand only).
2. Suspend the physical sign of peace.
3. Remove holy water stoups.
4. Public veneration of relics and the Cross on Good Friday should NOT be by kissing or physically touching them.
5. Advise those most vulnerable (elderly, people with weakened immune systems and long-term conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease, etc.) to refrain from large parish gatherings and stay at home.
6. Cease use of shared hymn books and missals which could help transmit the virus.
7. Ask everyone attending Mass to sanitise their hands as they come into church using sanitised gel dispensers (make these available in porches or entrances).
8. Ensure everyone maintains good hygiene especially at Mass and parish gatherings.
a) The best way of protecting us from spread is still for everyone to use universal good hygiene, which will effectively disrupt spread of the virus.
Catch it - sneeze into a tissue
Bin it - bin the tissue
Kill it - wash your hands with soap and water
Do not touch your face unless you have washed your hands
9. Ask anyone with cold or flu symptoms to refrain from attending liturgical, public events and do not attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) if symptomatic. (A person may just have an ordinary cold but it’s important to ensure a precautionary approach).
10. Ensure very regular cleaning of surfaces lots of people touch regularly (e.g. ideally clean door handles before and after every Mass)
11. Do not pass the collection plate around
12. Ensure ministers of the Eucharist sanitise their hands before and after distributing communion. This can be done by washing hands or by using good quality hand gel.
13. When visiting parishioners at home, wash hands before giving the sacraments. No pastoral visits to people who are self-isolating until isolation ends. However, do offer phone support.
14. Visits to people in care homes or Hospitals should follow advice from the staff on infection control
15. Suspend catering (teas, coffees, etc) at large parish gatherings where multiple people touch mugs, utensils, biscuits, etc.
All powerful and merciful God,
our refuge and our shield,
bring healing to all those suffering as a result of the Coronavirus.
Guard and protect us from all harm
and assist those whose skill and art can put an end to this affliction.
Through Christ our Lord.
Our Lady, Health of the Sick, pray for us.
Blessed Dominic Barberi, pray for us.
Blessed Robert Grissold, pray for us.