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Coronavirus Advisory

Instruction for Parishes

At this time when the faithful need to maintain some degree of normalcy, the Diocese is recommending each parish continue to maintain their regular Mass schedules for all those who wish to participate. Any parishioners who are uncomfortable about attending Sunday Mass due to the coronavirus are excused from their obligation to attend. In addition, if a parishioner is in the higher risk category due to current illness, age or suffering a chronic health condition or compromised immune system, they are also asked to remain at home.

Recommendations:

  • Discontinue use of common chalice
  • Discontinue sign of peace.
  • Eucharistic ministers and others on the altar use hand sanitizer before and after communion.
  • Cancel Lenten Penance Services, but keep regular Confession times.
  • Only offer communion in the hand.
  • Ensure Offertory gifts of bread and wine are sufficiently covered and protected if placed at the entrance before the start of Mass. Parishes have discretion to keep bread and wine covered in the sacristy until the Offertory.
  • Hand sanitizer available at every parish door.
  • Recommend use of latex gloves for ushers and money counters.
  • To the extent possible interior doors should be left propped open or held open by ushers.
  • Holy Water fonts should be cleaned and filled prior to Saturday evening Mass and again on Monday morning.
  • Weddings, funerals and other liturgical celebrations will continue as scheduled.
  • Give serious consideration to suspending coffee and donuts following Sunday Masses as well as Lenten Fish Fry events.
  • Encourage parishes to delay or cancel retreats and other events scheduled to be held off campus, particularly overnight activities until after April 30, 2020.
  • Limit parish activities outside of Mass that would have an expected number of attendees 100+.
  • Provide a list of live stream Sunday Masses on website and Facebook (EWTN on TV or streaming; Cathedral of St. John the Baptist 10:00 AM Sunday Mass at savannahcathedral.org)
  • Work with Catholic Education – Department of Catechesis for guidance regarding suspending religious education instruction. Possibly provide home based method for parents to continue instruction away from parish.
  • Catholic Schools: In event schools need to suspend operations, schools will be sent resources to set up plans for instruction to continue electronically, or they have been asked to create work assignments for up to two weeks for students to complete at home.
  • For the closure of schools, please follow the actions of the local Public School System in coordination with the Office of Catholic Schools.

Hospital and Homebound visits:

  • Hospitals have many new procedures and policies, check with the hospital chaplain or administrative office before scheduling a visit to patients.
  • Nursing homes are especially vulnerable, check with staff before visiting a parishioner. If allowed, wash and sanitize hands before entering the room to give communion. Only distribute on the hand and wash and sanitize hands when leaving.
  • Practice the same hygiene habits went making a homebound visit. Make sure the parishioner is comfortable with the visit.