Last week we received a decree from the Australian Catholic Bishops which is on the noticeboards of both our Churches. The Bishops have issued some directives to us for the time being regarding changes to our liturgical and devotional practices to support the prevention of the spread of Coronavirus. Further measures might be recommended as the situation evolves, but the following changes will be implemented for the time being.
Cessation of Distribution of the Chalice
The Australian Catholic Bishops have asked that we cease distribution of the chalice at Holy Communion for the time being. We have therefore decided to dispense with the assistance of all extra-ordinary ministers of communion for the time being. We thank our volunteers for their assistance and we will review that decision as soon it is safe to do so.
Sign of Peace
We have been asked not to offer the sign of peace to each other by shaking hands or making other physical contact as a precaution against spreading the virus. We will therefore observe a silence for the time being rather than exchange the peace.
No Holy Water in the Stoops
As a further precaution against spreading the virus we have been asked to empty the holy water stoops. Given that it is Lent and that we are in a time of spiritually journeying with the Lord in his 40 days in the desert, it seems apt that we observe this liturgically with empty stoops in any case.