Bishop Talley Makes Temporary Mass Changes Amid Coronavirus Concerns

2 March 2020

MEMPHIS, TN — For all of my 45 years as a Roman Catholic, I have received the blessed gift of Holy Communion under both species, the living bread and the saving cup. During my years in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, in the three parishes that I served as Pastor, I saw to it that Holy Communion under both species was offered at every Mass. And, this is what I recommend in the Diocese of Memphis.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us (1390): “Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace. For pastoral reasons this manner of receiving communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin Rite. But ‘the sign of communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly’. This is the usual form of receiving communion in the Eastern rites.” This emphasis points to my practice.

  1.  That being said, with the outbreak of this Coronavirus and with the deep concern of experts at the Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) about the spreading of this virus, I think it prudent, beginning with the reception of this communication … for a time …. for Pastors and Administrators and Chaplains, as they plan for each Mass celebrated, to plan to offer only the species of bread for Holy Communion.
  2.  Additionally, during these days of concern about this “new” virus, Pastors and Administrators and Chaplains might want to suggest the following as an option, for folks that are worried: at the call for an “exchange of Christ’s peace” just before the procession begins to receive the Gift of the Lord, instead of shaking hands or embracing liturgically, parishioners could turn to their neighbor in the pew … and with a bow of the head … wish them Christ’s peace verbally.

These actions are done out of an abundance of caution. My hope is that the danger will pass quickly and we will be able to return to our normal practices. May the Lord allow all of West Tennessee, a Lent of intensified prayer, the bodily prayer and discipline of fasting and giving … of your time and talents and treasure, in the care of your neighbor and of those on the margins of our parish communities.

I am yours, in the light and love of the Lord,

The Most Reverend David P. Talley

To see Bishop Talley’s full document, please click here

Para ver el documento completo del obispo Talley en español, haga clic aquí

To see the Memorandum sent to bishops from the Committee on Divine Worship/USCCB, please click here

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