Guidance from the Diocese of Oakland
Attendance at Mass
Please be aware that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass does not apply to those who are ill, especially those who suffer from contagious disease. Long before this pandemic, the Church has always recognized that there are “serious” or “grave” reasons that prevent Catholics from attending Mass. For example, if a person is sick or homebound, or living/visiting areas of the world where access to the Mass is limited, or a situation arises that prevents travel (snowstorm or flat tire), such persons would not be bound by the obligation.
In the case of this pandemic, serious or grave reasons would include:
- Anyone who is sick, symptomatic, or has been recently exposed to the coronavirus. Protecting the health of others is an act of Christian charity and our moral duty to one another.
- Anyone with significant health risk factors that requires them to avoid public spaces, or if you care for someone with significant risk factors.
- Anyone who cannot attend Mass through no fault of their own, for example, a parent caring for a sick child, or if the priest is sick.
- As always, you are reminded to use common good sense in the reception of Holy Communion during the annual cold and flu season as well.
Reception of Communion
It is strongly encouraged that the faithful receive Communion in the hand, however provision should be made so that anyone who wishes to receive on the tongue may do so, from a priest. It the priest does not feel comfortable with this, he may delegate to another, trained minister.
The distribution of the Precious Blood is still not authorized.
Anointing of the Sick
Only a priest can anoint the sick. It is not a valid sacrament if a nurse or deacon, or anyone else administers the sacrament. The priest can use an instrument such as a cotton ball or Q-tip to apply the oil of the sick, but cannot delegate the anointing of the person to someone else.
Wearing masks and social distancing remain two of the most effective means of preventing and spreading disease.
At this time, there is no government restriction on capacity for indoor service, but social distancing and adequate ventilation are still required.
The Sign of Peace should still be exchanged without physical contact.