Dear Monsignor, Rev. Father Rev, Deacon, Rev. Religious Superior & Principals
At the General Priests’ meeting which took place on the 4th March 2020, His Grace Archbishop Buti Tlhagale OMI issued guidance for the Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
As concern grows about the spread of the coronavirus, Archbishop Tlhagale believes it is timely to enact the following precautionary measures in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg with regard to the celebration of the Holy Mass and liturgical services, and ask for your cooperation in implementing them:
- Holy Communion will be distributed only in the hand (NOT ON THE TONGUE)
- The distribution of the Precious Blood to the faithful should be suspended
- The sign of peace should be exchanged without physical contact like hand-shaking; or else the call to exchange a sign of peace should simply be omitted.
- Holy Water fonts should be emptied Priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy communion are urged to practice good hygiene, washing their hands before Mass begins or even using an alcohol based anti-bacterial solution (HAND SANITIZER) before and after distributing Holy Communion.
- The faithful should be told that if they are sick or are experiencing symptoms of sickness they are not obliged to attend Mass, and that out of charity they ought not to attend
Your cooperation in implementing these measures effective immediately, until further notice is deeply appreciated and I know that our people will be even more grateful to you for protecting their health as well as your own.
Lastly, kindly encourage the Catholic faithful to pray for an end to this challenging situation throughout the world, and pray for those who are afflicted with the coronavirus.
Yours in Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate
Rev. Father Paul Beukes
OMi Vicar General Catholic Archdiocese of Johannesburg
CC. The Most Reverend Archbishop
Buti Tlhagale OMI
The Right Rev. Auxiliary Bishop