COVID-19: Archbishop Smith calls for preventive measures wherever Mass is celebrated

March 11, 2020

We continue to monitor the situation regarding active cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Archdiocese of Edmonton. With the number of cases rising in Alberta, and the declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the levels of anxiety and fear have increased for many parishioners. To date, the response has varied at individual parishes. Although the risk of infection remains low in Alberta, we believe it is best to act from an abundance of caution and implement the same infection prevention measures at all places where Mass is celebrated.

Therefore at this time, Archbishop Smith is requesting that all parishes implement the following measures on a temporary basis:

Experts in public health have advised that there is no greater risk of infection in receiving the host on the tongue than there is in receiving in the hand. Communicants are free to receive either way. However, for people’s greater peace of mind, priests should offer a dedicated line for communicants who prefer to receive on the tongue.

Those who distribute communion must continue to wash their hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer before and after the distribution of Communion.

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  ΜΆ  everyone should wash their hands thoroughly before and after Mass.

As previously communicated, we offer the following reminders to help reduce exposure to this or any virus and to protect your health:

Be assured that we will continue to work with health officials and keep you updated as appropriate.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Communications Office at 780-392-2456.

Download the full statement as PDF