For Immediate Release: March 11, 2020
Bishop Knestout Authorizes Further Safety Guidelines in Response to the Coronavirus
The Most Rev. Barry C. Knestout, bishop of Richmond, approved additional directives for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond as a result of the rapidly changing circumstances involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) affecting the United States. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has now confirmed multiple cases within the Commonwealth.
Bishop Knestout is instructing the following liturgical guidelines to take effect immediately in all parishes, schools, residential adult care centers, and campus ministries within the diocese:
- Cease distribution of the Precious Blood (Christ is fully present under both species of the Blessed Sacrament).
- Refrain from shaking hands during the Sign of Peace (bow or verbal gesture is appropriate).
- Refrain from holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.
- Remove holy water from the baptismal and holy water fonts.
The diocese continues to urge anyone who is ill to stay home and avoid attending Sunday Mass out of charity and concern for others. The guidelines have been sent to all clergy, parishes, and schools within our diocese.
Individuals can read up-to-date information from the state and health-related facts about the coronavirus: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/
The diocese has created a webpage with information, helpful resources and communications within the diocese that you may be looking for, you can find the information at https://richmonddiocese.org/coronavirus
We pray for all who are sick and the healthcare professionals caring for those affected.