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Message of His Excellency Bishop Joseph Bambera regarding health precautions for the celebration of Mass

March 03, 2020

As public health officials in Pennsylvania and beyond continue to track the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and widespread flu activity, the Diocese of Scranton is announcing new precautions for the celebration of Mass in its 11 counties.

Effective immediately, I am implementing the following directives:

  • The distribution of the Precious Blood via the Chalice is temporarily suspended

  • The Sign of Peace will now be exchanged without physical contact

At this time, the Diocese is monitoring all information and updates being provided by federal, state and local government officials.

In addition to the temporary changes that are taking effect immediately, I would also like to remind you of the following:

  • Priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should practice good hygiene, washing their hands before Mass begins or even using an alcohol based anti-bacterial solution before and after distributing Holy Communion

  • Parishioners are also reminded that if they are sick, especially with flu-like symptoms, they should stay home for their own well-being and that of others. If parishioners are sick or suspect they are sick with a contagious illness, they are not bound by the Sunday Mass obligation

On its website, the Pennsylvania Department of Health also has basic personal hygiene reminders which include:

  • Covering coughs or sneezes with your elbow instead of hands

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available

  • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes and other frequently touched items

The new precautions will continue as long as deemed necessary. The Diocese of Scranton continues to monitor the situation and is ready to make any updates as needed.


Faithfully yours in Christ,

+Joseph C. Bambera

Bishop of Scranton

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