YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As the flu season and concerns surrounding the new coronavirus continue, the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown is making some changes to keep parishioners healthy and safe.
Bishop George Murry issued the following steps, which will go into place starting March 7:
- If you are sick, do not come to Mass. Watch it on TV.
- Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze at Mass or anywhere.
- Use hand sanitizer if you cough or sneeze at Mass or anywhere.
- Acknowledge others at the Sign of Peace without shaking hands.
- All ministers of Holy Communion, including priests, deacons and laypeople, must use hand sanitizer before distributing Holy Communion.
- The distribution of the Precious Blood during Holy Communion is suspended. The one exception is for people who must receive from the cup due to severe cases of celiac disease.
- If you wish to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, please be careful not to touch the minister’s fingers with your tongue or mouth.
- Intinction (dipping Holy Communion into the Precious Blood) is not to be utilized as a means of distributing Holy Communion.
- Holy Water fonts are to be drained or regularly cleaned and disinfected. Parishes should make available small, personal bottles of Holy Water for parishioners who want them.
The church said these measures are temporary and will be reviewed before Holy Week.
“We live in a society, especially our elderly, they were taught from a very early age that if you miss Mass, you committed a mortal sin. So even when they’re sick, they drag themselves to church and they really should be home,” said Msgr. John Zuraw, Diocese of Youngstown.
For more information, call Rev. Michael D. Balash, Office of Worship, 330-744-8451, ext. 282.
These guidelines are also being followed by dioceses in Pittsburgh, Erie and Steubenville.