While our area is considered a low risk for the spread of the coronavirus, we should not be complacent. The province has recommended that public gatherings be less than 150 people and that anyone travelling from outside Canada should self-isolate for 14 days. We all need to be proactive and take responsible measures.
I invite all parishes to adopt the following measures:
o Remove the Holy Water from the fonts.
o Refrain from shaking hands at the Sign of Peace.
o Refrain from distribution of Holy Communion from the Chalice to all people including lay ministers.
o People should also be encouraged to receive Holy Communion in their hand and not on the tongue.
Remind your people that they are excused from their Sunday obligation of attending Mass if they are unwell. This same principle applies to anyone with underlying medical conditions or compromised health issues who may be more vulnerable to illness if exposed to any virus.
Everyone is urged to practice good hygiene with proper hand-washing and sneezing or coughing into your sleeve and not your hands. Avoid touching your face. Avoid unnecessary contact with those who are ill.
While we continue to monitor the situation, and being attentive to the direction of our health care officials, we are not recommending any changes to the Mass schedules at this time.
We continue to pray for those affected by this coronavirus as well as all healthcare providers, caregivers and researchers.
Sincerely in Christ,
Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick
Bishop of Antigonish