DIOCESE OF CLOYNE GUIDELINES 25TH MARCH 2020
Pastoral Ministry during Covid-19 Pandemic
The Sacrament of Baptism
The Sacrament of Reconciliation
Forgiveness of Sins and Easter Duty
“I know that many of you go to confession before Easter… Many will say to me: ‘But Father…I can’t leave the house and I want to make my peace with the Lord. I want Him to embrace me… How can I do that unless I find a priest?’. Do what the catechism says. It’s very clear. If you don’t find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He’s your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord. I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, ‘afterward I will go to confession.’ You will return to God’s grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God’s forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.”
Pastoral Care of the Elderly and the Sick (First Friday Calls)
Guidelines for Anointing of the Sick/Dying during the Coronavirus Emergency
In order to diminish the possibility that a priest attending the sick would himself become infected and a source of infection for others the following guidelines, minimizing physical contact, should be followed:
Cotton buds should be disposed of (by burning) afterwards.
The priest’s hands should be correctly cleansed both before and after the celebration of the Sacrament. The outside surface of the oil stock should also be cleansed after use.
In this case, a small amount of the Oil of the Sick should be brought in a container such as a medical sample bottle (which can be sourced at the hospital) and applied to the sick person using a cotton bud. The cotton bud and the container must both be disposed of (inside the isolation area with medical waste for incineration) immediately after use.
It is clear that some priests will themselves, because of their health condition or age, feel unable to attend to the sick person in their local parish. They may need to call on another priest from elsewhere to celebrate the sacrament.
Holy Week Ceremonies
A particular concern is the issue of funerals. Attendance at funerals should be restricted to the immediate family. The desire to offer condolences is commendable. Indeed, it is a work of mercy. But condolences can be expressed in the form of a letter, a text message, an e-mail. The Covid-19 crisis will pass and there will be other possibilities for Mass or prayers to be said for those who die during this period. Such Masses and prayers will allow for people who cannot now come physically to the church to then come and offer their condolences.
We recommend that all Catholic funeral liturgies in theDiocese be limited to the funeral Mass. In other words, there should be no removal to the church the evening before. The priest celebrating the funeral Mass should be the only priest officiating. In order to respect the social distancing guidelinereception of Holy Communion may not take place at the funeral Mass but future opportunities will make this possible.
Mass should not be offered in family homes even in the circumstance of a bereavement.