Hygiene Best Practices for Eucharist

Hygiene Best Practices for Eucharist

From the Diocese of Virginia:

As the flu season continues, and amid growing concerns about the possible spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, now is a good time to remind everyone about best practices for hygiene during Eucharist and other services.

Parishioners who are coughing or sneezing should refrain from handshaking during the Peace. Fist bumps, elbow bumps, friendly waves, and peace signs are all acceptable substitutes.

Avoid intinction (the dipping of the bread into the wine). Intinction does little to avoid the spread of disease and may actually increase the spread, as the bread or wafer spends more time in the (possibly unclean) hand before being dipped in the wine.

There has never been much evidence of risk of disease associated with the shared communion cup, but of course each parishioner must make up their own minds about its use. If parishioners are concerned, it is acceptable to abstain from communion or receive “in one kind” (host only).

Churches should make hand-sanitizers available for parishioners to use. Sanitize hands before and after contact with others.

In addition, priests presiding at the Eucharist, communion administrators and servers should wash their hands, preferably with an alcohol-based (minimum 60%) hand-sanitizer.

Best hygiene practice should continue to be observed in all pastoral contacts.