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The Diocescan announcement regarding the Coronavirus

The Diocese of Grand Rapids is continuing to monitor the local and regional situation with COVID-19 (coronavirus). On Tuesday, March 10, the first two confirmed cases in Michigan were announced by Gov. Whitmer (both in metro Detroit).

Because of this, and given that many of our parishioners are considered high risk for contracting the virus,

Bishop Walkowiak has issued the following guidelines for implementation at all Masses, effective immediately, until further notice:

  • The distribution of the Precious Blood of Christ is to be temporarily suspended at all Masses.
      • If you are a parishioner with a gluten sensitivity, please contact your pastor to discuss options.
      • It is left to the discretion of each communicant as to how they would like to receive the Body of Christ.
      • Any Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion who feels uncomfortable distributing Communion should be allowed to temporarily step down from ministry.
  • Hand sanitizer should be used by all Ordinary and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion before and after distributing the Eucharist.
  • The Sign of Peace is to be exchanged without physical contact. Parishioners are encouraged to use some other gesture instead. (e.g., a nod of the head, a smile or a spoken greeting).
  • Parishioners should not hold hands during the Our Father. Although holding hands is a beautiful expression of people united in prayer, the gesture is not envisioned in any Church documents governing liturgy.
  • If your parish encourages a greeting with physical contact before Mass, that practice should be temporarily suspended or modified to not include physical contact.
  • Holy Water fonts will be emptied and cleaned. They should remain empty at this time.
  • During the celebration of confirmation, Bishop Walkowiak will not be shaking hands with the newly confirmed following the anointing with Chrism.

In addition, we want to remind parishioners of the following:

  • If you are exhibiting flu-like or cold symptoms, please stay home from Mass. Your Sunday obligation is waived under these circumstances. We invite you to watch the 10 a.m. televised Sunday Mass from the Cathedral of Saint Andrew.
  • In addition to the above, parishioners and parishes should continue to follow normal cold/flu season guidelines.
  • Please pray for those who are suffering and those who have died from the virus, as well as their families.

We will adopt local, state, and health authority recommendations and provide additional directives if needed.

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