Now that cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have surfaced in Ohio – not yet in Medina County, thankfully, but I’m sure that will come – the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is advising that we make some temporary changes to the way we celebrate Mass. In the interests of keeping all of you, our families and our guests healthy and safe, we want to make you aware of how we are tailoring some procedures for the time being.
First, you’ll notice that the holy water fonts have been emptied and sanitized. (Thank you, Fr. Mike, for taking care of this.)
Second, we will suspend distribution of the Precious Blood. As Catholics, our faith informs us that the whole Christ — that is, his Body and Blood — is present when only the host is received. Provisions, however, will be made for Catholics who can only receive the Precious Blood for Communion because of celiac conditions. Please notify the presider or deacon before Mass so we can make sure you receive our Lord.
Third, please remember that extending a touch of welcome at the start of Mass or at the Sign of Peace before communion is always an optional gesture. If you are sick, please refrain out of consideration for those around you. Otherwise, use your judgment. A nod, smile or wave also will convey the peace of Christ during this period.
We know that these practices will feel awkward, but it is important that, at all times, we do what we can to prevent the spread of sickness and disease and try to keep everyone healthy. We have been in touch with the Medina Health Department and are monitoring the Ohio Department of Health and the CDC websites for accurate information and advice in this developing public health situation.
Meanwhile, we will continue cleaning surfaces between Masses and several times each week, and encourage proper hygiene protocols — as always.
Above all, we urge you to use common sense and not to panic. If we all wash our hands, avoid touching our face and stay home when we’re sick, we most likely will get through this unscathed.
Changes at Medina Hospital
Unfortunately, this health situation will mean our fellow Catholics at Medina Hospital will not be able to receive the Eucharist. Hospital officials have instructed that our extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion who volunteer each week must stay away during this time.
Likewise, clergy may come (to anoint the sick or dying, for example) only when requested on an individual basis. In these cases, call the parish office at 330-725-4968 (during business hours, if possible) for assistance.