Based on the advice of world experts in immunology, José Antonio Eguren, Archbishop of Piura (Peru), will allow Communion to be received in the mouth during the COVID-19 Coronavirus epidemic, and called not to close the churches or yield to the "virus of fear."
In a statement published on March 7, Mons. Eguren announced measures to "contribute to this evil not spreading among us."
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Piura said that “Holy Communion can continue to be received in the usual way at the choice of the faithful Christian, that is, either in the mouth or in the hand, since world experts in immunology point out that the risk of contagion, between to give communion in the mouth or in the hand is the same ”.
"Ordinary and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are asked to avoid the risk of touching the mouth or hands of communicants, and that the faithful be instructed on how to receive Communion properly in each of these cases," he said.
Bishop Eguren also asked “ordinary and extraordinary ministers of holy communion should wash their hands carefully before and after the distribution of it.”
“Washing should include the front and back of the hands and the area between the fingers. For this, it is advisable to use alcohol gel, which should be available in all the sacristies of the churches of Piura and Tumbes, ”he said.
The Peruvian Archbishop also indicated that at the time of giving peace during Mass “instead of shaking hands or giving a hug, another kind of greeting and fraternity gesture can be made, such as a nod, and this give it only to the person we have on each of our sides, avoiding displacements to exchange peace. ”
"The stoups of holy water of the churches should be kept empty," he said, but said that "this does not mean to stop blessing the water that the Faithful customarily bring to Mass for blessing."
Bishop Eguren then encouraged the faithful that "in our daily lives we follow the measures and instructions that are issued by the health authorities, and we invoke to keep calm and trust in God."
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Piura recalled that “churches are places of salvation and healing where we welcome who life itself is: Jesus Christ, our Lord,” and recalled that “throughout history when great plagues struck humanity, churches remained open and the Christians kept helping the sick. ”
Churches, he stressed, “are spaces where faith is strengthened, hope is renewed and grows, and charity is revived. They are also places of fraternal encounter where trust is strengthened and peace is revived.”
“That is why it is important to keep them always open, because along with this world virus, another as dangerous as the 'virus of fear' has emerged, and it is overcome above all in shared prayer, which reaches its maximum expression in the Sacred Liturgy, ”he said.
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Fr Longeneker has this interesting theological reflection on the Coronavirus situation and our response to it