March 5, 2020
Bishop Joseph Nguyen’s Message on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
With the mounting concerns about the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, the provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the senior public health official for British Columbia, has issued some recommendations in reference to preventing the transmission of this virus.
During our liturgical celebrations, I ask you to apply common sense and exercise caution when approaching familiar practices such as shaking hands at the sign of peace, receiving communion on the tongue and chalice. During this time of heightened precaution, it might be prudent to receive communion in the hand and not with the tongue and chalice.
For the greeters at the doors of the church and at the Sign of Peace, we should nod our heads instead of shaking hands.
Extraordinary Ministers for Holy Communion are reminded to wash and sanitize their hands before Mass and before distributing communion. Parishes should also take precautions and practise good hygiene.
Remove Holy Water from fonts and sanitize areas that are touched often.
People should be reminded that if they are sick, they should not be coming to Holy Mass or other events. People returning from affected areas should follow health ministry guidelines on being isolated from the public.
Thank you for your cooperation as we take these measures to discourage the spread of the virus.
Joseph Phuong Nguyen Bishop of Kamloops