Friday, March 13, 2020

Latest Updated Guidelines for COVID-19 by Catholic Bishops of England and Wales with Special Prayers and Spiritual Communion


Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Concise advice for Parishes on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
March 12th, 2020 Version 4
This guidance is a summary of Guidance for the Church specifically for Parish
Worship and events
The Liturgy, Parish Events and
Coronavirus: Steps to take
Efforts in England and Wales are focused on containment of the virus and this
advice is written for those circumstances. The guidance is kept under
continuous review.
(This Podcast was posted on the Bishops' Conference Website)
More detailed guidance can be found on the Bishops’ Conference website at
this link https://www.cbcew.org.uk/home/our-work/health-social-care/
What is Coronavirus?
A Coronavirus, one of the family of viruses which caused the SARS (Serious Acute
Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2002-2003 across the world, though it is less
severe than SARS. The virus is now called COVID-19. As a family of viruses, these
viruses are fairly common, and can range from mild to very severe in effect.
Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a
severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Most
people who get Coronavirus will have mild to moderate illness, a bit like ‘flu.
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened
immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes,
cancer and chronic lung disease. The death rate is low, typically at present around
2%, which is a little above the death rate for ‘flu. But it has understandably caused
concern because of the lack of information and because of myth.
Some of the most important things Catholics can do would be to restate the facts
accurately, reassure, counter prejudice against Chinese and other communities.
There has been a great deal of anxiety raised and it is important to quell this. While
for some people the disease is mild, for a small number of people especially those
who are older or vulnerable because of pre-existing diseases like cancer, diabetes or
heart disease or lung disease, it can become serious. A key issue is to reassure
people.
Where do I get the latest information?
This is a rapidly evolving situation and latest updates can be found on the Gov.uk
website here
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Concise advice for Parishes on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
March 12th
, 2020 Version 4
• For the public https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhannovel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/
• For professionals https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novelcoronavirus-background-information
The NHS has processes in place to manage cases where people may have or do
have the virus.
What should I do?
The key thing to do is take a stepped approach, and to reassure people the disease
is mostly mild. If cases appear and grow, you should move up a step as suggested
below, as the situation changes.
Stage 1: Very few cases in UK, no cases in local parishes
The key things for parishes to do are:
1. Ensure everyone maintains good hygiene (we should be doing this
already) especially at Mass and parish gatherings
a. The best way of protecting us from spread is for everyone to use
universal good hygiene, which will effectively disrupt spread of
the virus. So display the public information poster
(https://www.england.nhs.uk/south/wpcontent/uploads/sites/6/2017/09/catch-bin-kill.pdf), which states:
▪ Catch it - sneeze into a tissue
▪ Bin it - bin the tissue
▪ Kill it - wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol
hand gel
▪ Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands
2. Ask anyone with cold or flu symptoms to refrain from the physical sign
of peace, taking communion from the Chalice and advise they should
receive the host on the hand only. (We should be doing this anyway,
every ‘flu season.)
Ensure good regular cleaning of surfaces lots of people touch regularly,
including such things as door handles,
3. Ask everyone attending Mass to sanitise their hands as they come into
church using sanitized gel dispensers (make these available in porches
or entrances).
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Concise advice for Parishes on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

4. Ensure ministers of the Eucharist sanitise their hands before and
after distributing communion (we should be doing this anyway as a
matter of course.) This can be done by washing hands thoroughly (for
20 seconds at least with soap and water) discreetly before proceeding
to the sanctuary or using good quality hand gel discreetly.
a. Remember to use good hand washing and gel use technique.
You can find more here https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthybody/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/ and a poster here
https://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/resources/posters/en/
b. People who do catering are especially important for hand
hygiene, and it is very important to ensure cups and utensils are
properly washed and cleaned and surfaces cleaned
5. There is no need as things stand for the Chalice to be withdrawn or the
sign of peace suspended, such as was advised during the 2009 ‘flu
pandemic. This advice would only come if we had a very serious
epidemic in the UK and at the time of writing this is unlikely. People
with cold and flu like symptoms should refrain from the sign of peace if
they are present.
6. When visiting parishioners at home, wash hands before giving the
sacraments. No pastoral visits to people who are self-isolating until
isolation ends. However, do offer phone support.
7. Visits to people in care homes or Hospitals should follow advice from
the staff on infection control.
Stage 2: Current status. A number of cases in local
communities or a case specifically linked to a parish
community
The key things for parishes in these circumstances are:
1. It is likely you will need to suspend distribution under both kinds (the
host to be given on the hand only).
a. When giving communion in the hand seek to ensure you place
the host in the hand of the recipient in such a way that you do not
touch their hands.
2. Suspend the physical sign of peace.
3. Remove holy water stoups.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Concise advice for Parishes on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

4. Public veneration of relics and the Cross on Good Friday should
NOT be by kissing or physically touching them.
5. Advise those most vulnerable (elderly, people with weakened immune
systems and long-term conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart
disease) to refrain from large parish gatherings and stay at home.
6. Cease use of shared hymn books and missals which could help
transmit the virus.
7. Ask everyone attending Mass to sanitise their hands as they come into
church using sanitized gel dispensers (make these available in porches
or entrances).
8. Ensure everyone maintains good hygiene especially at Mass and parish
gatherings
a. The best way of protecting us from spread is still for everyone to
use universal good hygiene, which will effectively disrupt spread
of the virus. So, display the public information poster, which
states:
i. Catch it - sneeze into a tissue
ii. Bin it - bin the tissue
iii. Kill it - wash your hands with soap and water
iv. Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands
9. Ask anyone with cold or flu symptoms to refrain from attending Liturgy,
public events, nor attend the sacrament of reconciliation if symptomatic
(They may have an ordinary cold but equally it is important to ensure a
precautionary approach).
10. Ensure very regular cleaning of surfaces lots of people touch
regularly (e.g. ideally clean door handles before and after every Mass).
11. Do not pass the collection plate around.
12. Ensure ministers of the Eucharist sanitise their hands before and
after distributing communion (we should be doing this anyway as a
matter of course.) This can be done by washing hands discreetly
before proceeding to the sanctuary or using good quality hand gel
discreetly.
a. Remember to use good hand washing and gel use technique.
You can find more here https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthybody/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/ and a poster here
https://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/resources/posters/en/
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Concise advice for Parishes on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

13. When visiting parishioners at home, wash hands before giving the
sacraments. No pastoral visits to people who are self-isolating until
isolation ends. However, do offer phone support.
14. Visits to people in care homes or Hospitals should follow advice
from the staff on infection control.
15. Suspend catering (teas, coffees etc.) at large parish gatherings
where multiple people touch mugs, utensils, biscuits etc.
Stage 3: Many Cases in local parishes
It is currently unlikely, but not impossible, that we will get to this stage. This
could be at either deanery, diocesan or national level.
• We will know we are at this stage because public authorities will give
general advice on suspending large public gatherings. These are the
current circumstances in Singapore, for example.
• Mass and Liturgy in public should be suspended and parish gatherings
suspended. Specific and detailed guidance will be produced should we
come to this stage. But at the time of writing this is not needed.
Templates have been drafted for Ordinaries to use should this be
needed.
FULL TEXT Source: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/COVID19-Guidelines-4-120320-1635.pdf
Source: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/
PRAYERS ISSUED BY THE BISHOPS OF ENGLAND:
Prayers during a time of ‘flu and illness 
When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took our illnesses and bore our diseases’. Matthew 8:14-17 
General Prayer for Health
 Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger. Prayer for those in Authority Loving God, in Christ Jesus, the servant of all, you call us to the service of others. Grant to those who govern the community the skill to recognise its urgent needs and the strength to pursue the common good. Endow us all with patience and courage, that we may care for the suffering, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and sustain the needy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Spiritual Communion 
There are times when people are unable to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, through illness or due to their personal disposition. Even though some may not receive ‘sacramental’ Communion, all are united in some way by the Holy Spirit. The traditional idea of ‘spiritual’ Communion is an important one to remember and reaffirm. A deep spiritual communion is possible even when we do not share together the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. (cf. Celebrating the Mass 212) 

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in this Holy Sacrament of the altar. I love you above all things and I passionately desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come spiritually into my soul so that I may unite myself wholly to you now and forever. Amen. (based on a prayer of St Alphonsus Liguori)
Self-Isolation
 If there is a chance that a person has Coronavirus healthcare professionals may advise selfisolation for up to 14 days. Government advice should be followed. Those who are self-isolated may wish to spend some of the time in prayer. Use might be made of websites such as Pray as you go [https://pray-as-you-go.org ] or Universalis [www. universalis.com ] — to follow the readings at Mass each day or to join in the Prayer of the Church. Parishes will find ways of supporting people through prayer, communication (phone or social media) and practical support (food etc.).
 Phrases from Scripture
O Lord, come to my rescue, Lord, come to my aid. Ps 39:14 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. Jer 17:14 Lord, save me Matt 14: 30 Amen, Come, Lord Jesus. R 
Invocation of Our Lady
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

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