The priests and deacons of the Diocese of Joliet received communications today from our Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Richard E. Pates, with instructions in response to the possibility of the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. He would like parishes to err on the side of caution and asks that the following actions be implemented immediately:
We will suspend the shaking of hands or other physical contact at the sign of peace.
We will suspend the distribution of the Precious Blood to the faithful at Communion time.
These precautions will remain in force until such time as prudence dictates that our normal practices be resumed.
In addition, Bishop Pates reminds the faithful that if they are sick or are experiencing symptoms of sickness, they are not obliged to attend Mass, and even that, out of charity, they might not attend.
Finally, he has encouraged us to continue the practice we’ve long since implemented at St. James in which our Ministers of Communion wash their hands before Mass and use an alcohol based anti-bacterial solution before and after distributing communion.
The following is a copy of the bishop’s communications for your reference:
We will implement these actions immediately beginning with our next Masses, which are scheduled on Saturday and Sunday.