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Public health concerns

UPDATED APRIL 1, 2020: These protocols have been replaced by a new decree of Bishop McKnight’s. Read more here

As we face the annual cold and flu season, with a severe outbreak of influenza in our region, complicated by concerns over the novel coronavirus, it is important we all understand and promote healthy practices in our parishes and schools.

With that, pastors are advised to consider the following temporary modifications as suggestions:

  • Out of an abundance of caution, those who are ill should stay home. Those who have weak or compromised immune systems (i.e., the elderly, the infirmed, infants and young children) should consider avoiding large gatherings. In this flu season, this means their obligation to attend Mass is lifted by the bishop.
  • Discontinuing the distribution of the Precious Blood at Mass. Please assure anyone concerned that the sacramental presence of the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Jesus, is present in each element of the Eucharist.
  • Discontinuing the holding or shaking of hands during Mass, e.g., at the Lord’s Prayer or Sign of Peace. An alternative could be a bow for the Sign of Peace.
  • Changing holy water on a weekly basis.

More information and resources are available at