Use of the chalice, physical sign of peace suspended in the Louisville archdiocese

A worker sprays disinfectant to combat the coronavirus in the Basilica of San Domenico Maggiore in Naples, Italy, March 6, 2020. (CNS photo/Fotogramma/IPA/ABACAPRESS.COMN via Reuters)

Catholic Churches in the Archdiocese of Louisville were instructed March 9 to suspend distribution of the Eucharist through the chalice and identify ways to share the sign of peace without physical contact.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz also continued to encourage handwashing in a letter sent to parish leaders on March 9. He also encouraged parishes to heed Mayor Greg Fischer’s request that houses of worship be cleaned regularly.

With the spread of COVID-19 (the 2019 coronavirus disease), the archdiocese had previously reminded parishioners and ministers to use good handwashing techniques, particularly before and after serving as eucharistic ministers during Mass.

Following are instructions outlined in the latest letter:

  •  Priests, deacons, ministers of Holy Communion, and altar servers must always wash their hands before Mass begins, and they should use an alcohol-based anti-bacterial solution of at least 60% alcohol before and after distributing Holy Communion.
  •  Ensure that all vessels used at Mass, once purified, are thoroughly washed with soap and hot water after each use.
  •  Parishes should determine and communicate ways to share the sign of peace that does not involve physical contact.

In his letter, Archbishop Kurtz also asked parish leaders to consider options for parishioners with celiac disease or sensitivity who cannot receive the Eucharist through the host.

Catholic and public schools in the archdiocese remained on a normal schedule March 9, but a letter sent to Catholic school parents said if conditions change, “we will adjust our recommendations and practices accordingly.”

All parishioners and students are asked to stay home if they have symptoms of respiratory illness. As an alternative to attending Mass, Catholics may watch the Mass of the Air. It is broadcast:

  •  11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on the Faith Channel (Spectrum channel 19) and streamed on the Faith Channel at
  •  10:30 a.m. on WHAS-TV (channel 11).
  •  9 a.m. on WBKI-TV (channel 28), Campbellsville, Ky. (Insight channel 7).
  •  10 a.m. on WNKY-TV (channel 40), Bowling Green, Ky.
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