TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Catholic Diocese of Tyler has issued several temporary liturgical measures to help lessen the threat of worshipers contracting COVID-19.
In two posts on its website, the diocese has laid out several measures for ministers and the faithful to follow to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
The diocese urges people to stay home if they are sick or experiencing symptoms.
“If a person is ill, they are not bound by the obligation to attend Mass, including on Sunday,” the guidelines say.
The diocese is granting dispensations from the obligation to attend Mass from individuals who fit in one of the following categories, whether ill or not:
- Persons in the high-risk category due to current illness, age (60+), or suffering from a chronic condition or compromised immune system
- Those who care for such individuals
- Persons who, for a just cause, may feel uncomfortable in large groups
Persons in the high-risk category due to current illness, age (60+), or suffering from a chronic health condition (like high blood pressure, kidney disease, cancer, or diabetes), or compromised immune system, are asked to remain at home.
Persons who have traveled to areas affected by COVID-19 are asked to remain at home.
The diocese has asked its parishes to take the following measures:
- Distribution of wine from common chalice suspended
- Exchange of sign of peace is to be retained, but exchanged without physical contact (i.e., bowing)
- Holding of hands during Mass (e.g., during the Lord’s Prayer) is discouraged
- The faithful may consider receiving Communion on the hand rather than the tongue
- Those distributing Communion should wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after distributing Communion
- Hymnals, missalettes, prayer cards, and other items are to be removed from pews. These commonly handled items can serve to transmit viruses from one person to another
- Common services (pews, door handles, restrooms, etc.) are to be regularly disinfected
- Holy water fonts and stoups are to be emptied
- Ushers and those who assist with the collection may consider wearing latex gloves
- All non-liturgical events and public gatherings on parish or diocesan property are to be postponed or canceled (faith formation and religious education classes, parish meetings, retreats, conferences, etc.).
Mass schedules are to continue as normal, but those attending should consider putting additional space between themselves and other parishioners.