Diocese of Trenton puts restrictions in place amid coronavirus concerns
While testing is underway and there hasn't been a confirmed case of the Coronavirus in New Jersey to date, various organizations, schools and churches are taking the proper precautions to keep everyone healthy.
The Catholic Diocese of Trenton, which represents churches in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties, and Bishop David O'Connell have issued a list of directives to ensure everyone's safety that are effective immediately, according to the Trenton Monitor, the newspaper for the Diocese.
1. People who have flu-like symptoms or who are otherwise feeling sick should not go to Mass or other Church gatherings.
2. Priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should practice good hygiene, washing hands with soap and water or anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, before and after distributing Holy Communion.
3. People are encouraged not to receive Holy Communion on the tongue; worthy, reverent reception by hand is preferred until otherwise notified.
4. The practice of distributing the Precious Blood from the Chalice is suspended.
5. The practice of exchanging the sign of peace by any physical contact (handshake, embrace, kissing) is suspended.
The consumption of the Precious Blood and Holy Communion are the most sacred parts of the Catholic mass.
Remember, if you're too ill to come to mass, you can still receive communion at home from a priest, deacon or eucharistic minister.
Consult with your pastor, another priest or deacon at your parish for further clarification and questions.
Acceptable alternatives during the sign of peace are smiling and saying 'peace be with you' or a peace sign while being reverent and respectful to the mass and the people around you.
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