The threat posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has prompted the Catholic Church in the Philippines to recommend communion in the hand as a cautious way to receive the sacred host, according to CBCP News.
The instruction was released by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Wednesday to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
In a circular to all the dioceses, Fr. Marvin Mejia, CBCP Secretary-General, said measures are needed to “prevent the acquisition and spread of the disease”.
“The communion in the hand (must) be practiced ordinarily to help prevent further fear from people who are reasonably cautious about this matter,” Fr. Mejia said.
He said that other forms of close contact like holding hands during the praying of “Our Father” and shaking hands during the “sign of peace” would be discouraged.
Amid the recommendations of health experts, the CBCP urged the parish churches to change regularly the holy water in the fonts and install “protective cloth” on the grills of confessionals.
The CBCP has also released an “Oratio Imperata” for the people who are sick because of the virus and for the prevention of a global outbreak.
“We pray for your grace for the people tasked with studying the nature and cause of this virus and its disease and of stemming the tide of its transmission,” part of the prayer reads.
“Guide the hands and minds of medical experts that they may minister to the sick with competence and compassion, and of those governments and private agencies that must find cure and solution to this epidemic,” it added.
The prayer will be recited in all weekdays and Sunday Masses, after the Communion, kneeling down, starting on Feb. 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
To date, the Philippines still has no conformed 2019-nCoV cases.
However, the Health Department said there are 23 persons under investigation after being suspected to have the 2019-nCoV.