Posted on Posted in Weekly Essay

Your hands are the most dangerous parts of your body for transmitting disease. They touch everything (door handles, handrails, chairs, pews, other people’s hands) – and then they touch your mouth, nose, eyes, or other people’s hands or food (or wine – see below). With heightened concerns about highly contagious viruses, the congregation is asked to observe these practical, common-sense guidelines (backed up by good science).

  • Wash your hands, frequently, with soap and water, for twenty seconds, back and front, and between your fingers.
  • Don’t touch your face with your hands.
  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow – and keep a safe distance from others when you do.
  • Wash your hands after sneezing.
  • There is no evidence that the common cup is a carrier of infectious disease. But if you prefer not to receive from the chalice, DO NOT dip the host with your own fingers (what have they been touching? And what might they touch?). You may either allow the minister of the chalice to dip it for you and place it on your extended tongue OR you may receive in one kind only (refraining from the chalice). Christ is fully present to the faithful received by both elements, and though we normally receive in both, in exceptional circumstances this is an acceptable precaution.
  • If you want to avoid contact with hands, don’t shake hands. A bow, an elbow, or fist bump are all healthier ways of greeting.