St. Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Church : Update on COVID-19 Preparedness and Response
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
With the COVID-19 virus, commonly called coronavirus, spreading slowly and gradually, not only we need to err on caution but also, I ask your fervent prayer. We will devote Friday, March 13, 2020 as a day of prayer, fasting and adoration. I encourage you to fast for the day. We will have Holy Qurbana at 7:00 pm followed by Adoration and Way of the Cross.
We are all affected by the news and sense the heightened anxiety and vulnerability growing in our community related to this. It is important that we all should take extra precautions to mitigate and prevent the spreading of this virus. These actions are done out of an abundance of caution and my hope is that the danger will pass quickly and we will be able to return to our normal practices.
The Church’s teaching is that if you are ill with any contagious illnesses, you are not bound by the Sunday Holy Qurbana obligation. You should remain at home and return to church when you are well. You may watch Holy Qurbana/Mass at Shalom or EWTN if possible and available.
All other parish day-to-day activities will continue except the following. The below actions will be implemented immediately.
We will not serve any food at our Church until further notice.
I am suspending all the ward prayers for the time being. After discussions with the Trustees and Ward Members, I will try to arrange for the possibility of prayer through phone conferences. Information will be sent/shared later through ward WhatsApp groups.
Our Lenten Retreat is currently scheduled from Friday, March 27 -29, 2020. This may change depending on the situation. I will keep you posted.
As per the circular of our Bishop, shaking or touching of hands or other physical contacts at the sign of peace is suspended, instead you share peace by simply greeting each other with folded hands (like Namaste). There should be no physical contact in the exchange of peace.
No holding of hands when we recite the Our Father prayer before Holy Communion.
Suspended distribution of the Precious Body after intinction in the Precious Blood. Instead, you are requested to receive Holy Communion on your palm. (left palm on top with right hand supporting it – once you receive the Precious Body, pick the Precious Body with your right hand and eat). For your information, the Body and Blood of Christ is fully present in either species. The Catholic Church teaches that Christ Jesus, our Lord, and Savior, is wholly present under the appearance either of bread or of wine in the Eucharist.
There will be no Holy Water Fonts in the church until further notice.
Pews and all door handles will be disinfected regularly.
These cautions will remain in force until such time as prudence dictates that our normal practices be resumed. There is so much information and misinformation about this virus out there. I suggest you go to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more information. The following link provide you with much needed information.
Let us pray for each other and ask the Holy Spirit to send His peace. Jesus, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow. Father, please cover everyone with the Precious Blood of Your Son, Jesus and protect all of us, especially those in the medical field, from any infection and harm.