Protocols during the COVID-19 Pandemic

During this temporary period, we will strive to protect each other … most especially those who are most vulnerable among our community. As such, until the danger of exposure is passed, the following measures will be in place at all gatherings at the Parish of St. Bernadette (Mass, prayers, and other gatherings).

  • The Rite of Peace will be eliminated. We will proceed immediately to the Fraction Rite.
    • All holy water fonts will be removed from the church. You may bring your own small vials or sealed vessels from home and take Holy Water from the reserve by the Sacristy.
    • The Precious Blood will not be distributed.
    • The Body of Christ will be distributed by the presiding priest, alone, from the usual place.
    • You may receive, as always, on either the tongue or in your hands; expert and professional opinion is that any risk of infection is not affected by either practice.

Other measures:

  • Since the COVID-19 coronavirus can be picked up by touching a surface that an infected person has touched – such as a pew or hymnal  ̶  everyone should wash their hands thoroughly before and after Mass. Unless you have your own with you, use the hand sanitizers that have been made available as you enter the church and as you leave.
    • Stay home if you have any signs of illness, especially a fever and cough. Those who stay at home are encouraged to pray and reflect on the Sunday readings if they are well enough.
    • Pastoral care team members who bring the Blessed Sacrament to shut-ins should not attend any homes where influenza or COVID-19 is known or suspected to be present. As is usual practice, those visiting health care facilities or nursing homes should continue to follow the infection prevention protocols at each institution.
    • And of course, always pray for the sick. And pray for the medical professionals who seek a solution to this and all serious diseases.

“Do I need to receive both the Body and Blood of Christ to ‘fully’ receive Him in Communion?”

The issue of Communion under both species was decided on by the Church a long time ago. The Council of Constance (1414-1418) raised to the level of dogma the point that Christ is fully present under each species. The Council of Trent reaffirmed this teaching in the 16th century.

The basic reason for this teaching is the hypostatic union (a theological term used to express the revealed truth that in Christ one person subsists in two natures, the divine and the human) and the indivisibility of Jesus’ glorified humanity.

In simpler terms, Christ himself is not divided. So, those who receive the consecrated host receive the full Christ. Likewise those who receive only from the chalice receive the full Christ.

One reason the Eucharist is usually distributed at Mass under both species is to make the sign of the sacrament more readily recognizable. But receiving both species isn’t necessary for receiving Jesus’ full and real presence in Communion.

Aversion to Whole Wheat: To be valid matter for consecration, hosts must be made with whole wheat (hosts made of rice or corn or other matter are not validly consecrated). Those with Celiac disease (a very serious and potentially life-threatening allergy) may not want to receive even a very small piece of Eucharistic bread. If you must abstain from receiving Jesus under the form of bread, do not cross your arms as those do who seek a blessing. Rather, bow your head (as all should be doing) and move on to the cup with the Precious Blood. NB: If you suffer from an intolerance but not a life-threatening condition, and you wish to receive a small piece of the host, simply ask the priest or extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, “A small piece, please!” They will break off a small piece and offer it to you with the words, “The Body of Christ” to which you respond (as all must do), “Amen!”

Aversion to Alcohol: To be valid matter for consecration, the wine used must contain a percentage of alcohol (non-alcoholic beverages made from grapes or other matter are not validly consecrated). If you have any aversion to alcohol, simply stop before the cup with the Precious Blood (do not cross your arms) and bow before the cup. Please! Do not simply walk by the Lord who is fully present under the form of wine without reverencing Him.

Aversion to Both Species: Some people may not be able to receive Jesus fully present under either species. Examples would be people with Celiac disease and Alcoholism or those who receive nourishment only through feeding tube. In such cases, you may receive Jesus truly present in the Eucharist by desire; stopping and bowing before the Body of Christ and then stopping again and bowing before the Precious Blood.