As we prepare for our Easter celebrations, there are some updated COVID protocols for liturgical practices. Recently, in reviewing current protocols, the Archdiocese consulted with a infectious diseases expert. They have encouraged us to resume normal practices as much as possible as in their words, “Covid will remain part of the human viral ecology for the foreseeable future”.
We will reintroduce the reception of communion from the chalice from Holy Thursday, 6 April. No doubt, you will emphasise to your parishioners that those who are unwell should refrain from the chalice or receiving communion on the tongue. Some parishes may prefer to wait until after the Easter weekend and its influx of visitors to reintroduce this practice but they should ensure that this is done at some time during the Easter season.
Review and Update of Current Guidelines:
* Anointings: It is no longer deemed necessary to wipe hands between individual anointings for Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick unless those gathered have requested it.
* Face mask: It not a requirement for the presider to wear a face mask at Communion. Some may choose to continue this practice in certain circumstances, it remains a personal choice.
* Sign of Peace: People may choose to shake hands or embrace if they wish to do so.
* Veneration of the Cross: It is recommended that parishioners be encouraged not to kiss the cross during this time (alternatively, wipes could be provided to be used if necessary).
Other practices that were limited during COVID may be relaxed, if you have not already done so, including:
* Regularly scheduled times should be offered for the Sacrament of Reconciliation
* Hospitality (such as morning teas) may resume after Mass
* Holy water fonts may be filled
* Washing of the Feet may take place
* The passing of collection plates can resume
Please keep in mind that some parishioners may be uncomfortable with relaxing some of these requirements as COVID-19 remains a health risk in the community. The Archdiocese is confident that parishes will continue to make the health and wellbeing of employees, parishioners, and volunteers a priority during this time.