The Public Health Officer of Santa Clara County has again requested that we make a number of temporary adaptations to our celebrations of the Eucharist, so as to foster the health of our worshipping communities and also of the wider community.  Given the anticipated increase of the flu throughout the Diocese in upcoming weeks, I ask that these adaptations be implemented by next weekend, December 2/3.

  1. For the duration of the flu/cold/virus season, Holy Communion will not be shared under the form of Consecrated Wine. Concelebrating priests and assisting deacons are to receive the Precious Blood by means of intinction.  Provision should be made for those parishioners who rely upon receiving Holy Communion under the Sacred Species of consecrated wine because of Celiac Disease or other conditions that do not tolerate the ingestion of a consecrated host.
  2. For the duration of the flu/cold/virus season, Holy Communion will be distributed only into the hands of communicants; during this time, Holy Communion will not be distributed on the tongue. Should a communicant be unwilling to follow this directive, that person is to receive Holy Communion after everyone else has done so.
  3. For the duration of the flu/cold/virus season, people should refrain from holding hands during the recitation or singing of the Lord’s Prayer.
  4. For the duration of the flu/cold/virus season, the Sign of Peace should be adapted so as to allow for a greeting that does not require shaking hands or touching.
  5. For the duration of the flu/cold/virus season, all who administer Holy Communion are to wash their hands with an alcohol-based anti-bacterial solution, such as Purell, before and after they administer the Sacrament. This precaution also extends to those who minister to the homebound.
  6. These adaptations are to remain in effect throughout the Diocese until conditions allow me to rescind them.

When you explain these adapted procedures to your people, please remind them that the obligation to participate in Sunday Mass does not hold for those who are seriously ill, and that it would be a mark of Christian charity for anyone who has fever, cough or other such symptoms to remain at home.  Please refer to the article, “Liturgy, Cold, and the Flu: Common Sense Practices,” which has previously been circulated throughout the Diocese.

Thank you for your immediate attention to these matters and for undertaking the catechesis that will be necessary to introduce these adaptations to your parishes and other communities by the weekend of December 2/3, our celebration of the First Sunday of Advent.