Responding to recent concerns from the Catholic community and wider society of the Church’s decision to adjust its liturgical practices because of the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, Archbishop Jason Gordon wants to make this clear: the Precious Blood of Jesus cannot be contaminated, rather, it is the passing of the chalice from hand to hand that can transmit the virus.
“I believe in the power of the Blood,” the Archbishop asserted on Shepherd’s Corner Thursday, March 5.
He however explained that in a time where there is a “high medical alert”, the prudence that we must all exercise is in the abundance of caution.
“We implement standards that we will not normally use to ensure that not only are people being kept safe and we are ensuring they contain the virus, but we are also ensuring that people are coming to Mass without worry or being distracted about the virus,” the Archbishop said.
The Archdiocese of Port of Spain announced March 4, effective immediately, adjustments to liturgical practices. Among them was no distribution of the Precious Blood. Commenting on this, one caller expressed “severe” concerns as it relates to the sharing of the Blood. He added that the statement issued would have led him to believe that perhaps Jesus could have become contaminated.
Archbishop Gordon responded that it is important to understand that the virus is “very, very contagious” from the touch of the hand.
He mentioned that the Church also had to “do away” with the Holy Water fonts because if someone sneezes then places his/her hands in the font, then the next person can be contaminated. The Archbishop further explained that the sponge in the water fonts, not so much the water, can “hold” the virus and contaminate others.
Adding to the discourse, host Deacon Derek Walcott brought to viewers’ attention that faithful lick the hands of priests during the offering of Holy Communion.
“And that’s why we not going to give it on the tongue,” the Archbishop interjected. “Because if somebody licks your hand, and then you give to the next person and they lick your hand, well you are passing [the] virus from one to the next,” Archbishop Gordon said. —KJ