Connecticut Precautions

I read through a secular news outlet that the Diocese of Norwich is taking precautions against the possible transmission of disease. Funny, but I couldn’t find any statement on the diocesan web page, not in press releases, on the bishop’s page, or through the Office of Worship.

The usual suspects are addressed: no touching for the Lord’s Prayer or Rite of Peace, no common Cup, Communion on the tongue discouraged. In other words, something to get any intentional Catholic upset. An equal-opportunity bother.

It is a concern of Catholics in many areas, however. We have a parishioner who has addressed the matter with the pastor here. Our diocese is not implementing anything at the moment. That seems a sounder approach to me: leave the matter of touching hands or receiving Communion to the good sense of informed lay people. We tell people if you’re sick or if you want to avoid contact with germs, take the precautions you believe are necessary.

Our sacristans report that Communion from the Cup has decreased slightly over the summer. Any signs from your parish?

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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4 Responses to Connecticut Precautions

  1. Liam says:

    Two solutions:

    Gloves and mouth/nose masks.

    The archdiocese of Boston implemented new guidelines last winter regarding the hygienic practices during liturgy of ministers of communion. I would say it is quite normal for there to be a decline in reception of the Precious Blood in the months of the year when respiratory illnesses breed most. It’s not only out of fear of catching them – it’s also out of concern for spreading them. I think those of us who were in intentional communities (for example, one of mine was near a hospital) where immuno-suppressed people were known to be regularly in attendance (due to cancer, HIV and other illnesses) learned the discipline of refraining from spreading our germs around too freely. When you’ve lived with people going through chemo, you learn the drill.

  2. + Alan says:

    We’ve just instituted a precautionary hand cleansing exercise for all the extraordinary ministers of Communion in our Cathedral parish. I’m one of them. As we go up to get ready, we now have to pass our hands under an automatic hand sanitizer dispenser before we administer either Body or Blood.

    No mention has been made of discouraging people from receiving from the cup or on the tongue. The tongue thing did enter my mind, though – say I accidentally (which happens a good bit I imagine) touch someones tongue as I give them the host, then use that same hand to pick up another host and give it to someone else – germs distributed, there you go.

    I’m not that concerned about it myself – just a thought that entered my head – interesting. I wonder what a stink would be caused if receiving on the tongue was actually disallowed temporarily for this reason – hmmm. OK, that’s my report. Peace (I’m waiving at you, see? No touching!). :)

  3. Liam says:

    The minister’s fingers can touch both tongues and hands, so each mode of ministration involves some risk. You have to angle the leading edge of the host towards its resting place, not lay it flat.

  4. + Alan says:

    Of course no matter how skillfully we may angle the host on the recipient’s tongue, they’re involved as well. Anyway, I don’t typically have trouble with it. Also, hands can be washed, saliva cannot, so there’s a tad difference there.

    For the record, if there is one, I wouldn’t advocate telling people they shouldn’t do either. Normal self-precautions should be enough. We get a little too spooked sometimes with things like this. Peace.

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