Coronavirus causes changes in mass

COVID-19 impacting mass

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The spread of COVID-19 has had major impacts on travel, universities and more — but now, it’s affecting mass.

“Parishes are to refrain from the use of holy water for the immediate future,” said a worship leader at the St. Augustine Cathedral Church during mass on Sunday. All the holy water has been removed from the church.

It’s just one of the measures Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger is calling for parishes to follow.

“I’m an old-fashioned catholic,” said Chris Arslanian, member of church choir. “I bless myself with holy water after entering and leaving the church. I take communion on my tongue.”

Communion is suggested to be changed as well. Holy Communion should be distributed only in the hand for the immediate future.

The bishop of the Diocese of Tucson made the statement last week that these changes should be made in parishes to stop the spread of viruses and illness until further notice. Asking people to stay home if they are sick.

An usher at St. Augustine said attendance was down about 30 percent Sunday. The Diocese said the precautions are being taken elsewhere, too.

“It’s happening nation-wide in diocese and churches everywhere,” said Steff Koeneman, with the Diocese of Tucson. “The less contact we have at this time, it seems the better.”

As more than 500 cases in the U-S have been confirmed, with three in Arizona, it seems people are taking whatever precautions they can to avoid the spread. The changes in mass are suggested to me used until further notice. The Diocese has issued similar changes a few years ago during a tough flu season.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pima County. For a full list of suggested changes to mass, click HERE.

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