SPECIAL PASTORAL PROVISIONS TO COPE WITH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Taking into consideration the persistently grave situation of the current pandemic and the corresponding anti-pandemic measures of the government, Cardinal John Tong has approved the following new pastoral provisions for parishes with immediate effect:
1. The pandemic has for a long time deprived our faithful of the possibility to attend Holy Mass and to be spiritually nourished by receiving Holy Communion. In order to address this situation and safeguard the spiritual welfare of the faithful, every parish may, if feasible, set a schedule (for example, following the usual weekday or Sunday Mass schedules), once or several times on weekdays and Sundays, for Holy Communion to be given to the parishioners. The parishioners should be properly disposed by either attending a Mass online or paying a visit to the Blessed Sacrament beforehand. The Diocesan Liturgy Commission will be providing a Rite for Holy Communion outside of Mass (Simple Form). On these occasions the anti-pandemic precautions must be observed, including the keeping of social-distancing. After receiving Holy Communion, the parishioners are to avoid gathering together in the church.
2. In view of the pandemic, parish priests and assistant parish priests, while hearing confessions, should keep the confessionals or reconciliation rooms well ventilated. If necessary, they may hear confessions at other suitable locations.
3. Parishes may hold the Rite for Holy Communion with the Distribution of Ashes in accordance with the related Note issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on 12 January 2021. The Diocesan Liturgy Commission will be providing the full text of this Rite.
4. Granted that the situation of the pandemic is fluctuating, in case public Masses are again allowed to be held at Easter or afterwards, parishes are to avail themselves of this opportunity and are to promptly hold the Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults; as an exception, the Rite of Becoming Catechumens, the Rite of Election and the Scrutinies need not be held. The Diocesan Liturgy Commission will be providing the full text of the Sacraments of Initiation (full reception on one single occasion) during Mass.
5. During Lent, parish priests and catechists should, depending on the actual circumstances, make good use of the liturgical texts for the Rite of Election, the Scrutinies, the Presentation of the Profession of Faith and the Presentation of the Lord’s Prayer to give the catechumens a thorough preparation for Christian Initiation, at the same time helping them to look for godparents and to choose their Christian names.
6. Parishes may, at their discretion, decide when to begin the foregoing arrangements. Should they have queries, they can approach either the Chancery Office or the Office of the Diocesan Liturgy Commission.