March 4 – A Letter to the Diocese around Concerns of the Coronavirus
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Currently, there are many concerns and questions arising about the spread of the coronavirus. While we are not aware of any confirmed cases in the diocese, we would like to cover a list of preventive steps with regard to the celebration of the liturgy. The following omissions are to begin effective immediately and continue until further communication from the Office of the Bishop:
- The Exchange of the Sign of Peace is to be omitted
- The distribution of the Precious Blood is to be omitted
- The practice of holding hands during the Our Father is to be discontinued
We would also like you to continue to urge extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to practice good hygiene, washing their hands before Mass begins or even using an alcohol based- anti bacterial solution before and after distributing Holy Communion. It would also be good to stress the importance that if an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion is feeling under the weather that they find a substitute. Please, also assure the faithful that if they are sick or are experiencing symptoms of sickness, they are not obliged to attend Mass, and even that out of charity they ought not to attend.
In accordance with the GIRM #374, I request all parishes and institutions to celebrate the Mass for Various Needs and Occasions: #48 For Any Need on March 11, 2020. To celebrate this Mass please use the readings of the Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent and one of the Lenten Prefaces.
The Office of the Bishop will continue to monitor the situation of the coronavirus within our own diocese. I ask that you please be in constant communication with us especially if you learn of a case of the coronavirus within your parish. We will monitor the situation and continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the health of all the faithful in the diocese.
Humbly Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Carl A. Kemme D.D.
Bishop of Wichita