The world is in panic over Coronavirus and a global pandemic has now been declared with the whole of Italy in lockdown and the Italian bishops have decided there are to be no public Masses, or even funerals being celebrated until 3rd April. Whether we will see such drastic measures here remains to be seen. So far there have been one or two cases of the virus in Loughborough and it seems inevitable that it may spread. Various measures have been put in place to curb the spread of the virus, but these are only human means. It is always important that we have recourse to God, and implore His protection and the removal of danger, but we must still take practical steps to protect ourselves.
First of all, if you are ill, please do not come to Mass. If you miss Mass intentionally due to sickness you do not need to go to Confession for it. Please stay at home and make an Act of Contrition and a Spiritual Communion. Don’t think that it is impossible to pick up the virus when you are at Mass or receiving Holy Communion. The accidents of bread and wine remain after the Consecration, and if they come into contact with the virus they can spread it. St Thomas Aquinas said, “If it be discovered that the wine has been poisoned, the priest should neither receive it nor administer it to others on any account, lest the life-giving chalice become one of death” (Summa Theologica IIIa Q83 a.6, ad3). The same, of course, applies to the Sacred Host. Also no one is required to receive Holy Communion at Mass. Only the priest celebrating the Mass must receive to complete the Sacrifice. So if you feel uneasy about receiving Holy Communion for the moment, you may refrain and make a Spiritual Communion instead. See the back page of the newsletter for a form you could use.
Another precaution we have been advised to take is that we stop using hymn books. Therefore, for the time being, we will have hymn sheets which you are asked to take away with you at the end of Mass and not leave them in the church. The same goes for the newsletters – please take them away with you. Don’t leave them in church.
Let us all pray for each other and for the welfare of the whole Parish.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC