Mangaluru, June 02, 2018: In the wake of the Nipah outbreak, the Thamarassery diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church has issued a circular to the parish priests to serve the communion during the mass only on the hand.
The custom of serving the communion on the tongue by priests will be discouraged as part of the efforts to support the Health Department’s drive against the viral disease.
Priests in nearly 120 parishes under the Thamarassery diocese will heed the bishop’s advisory issued on June 1.
Nearly 20 parishes in Malappuram district too will follow suit.
The decision comes as the majority of those attending the holy mass receive the communion and that chances are high of the spread of virus from infected persons.
Abraham Kavilpurayidathil, Chancellor of the diocese, said the Thamarassery diocese had voluntarily taken the decision to extend support to the preventive measures taken by the Health Department.
“The custom of serving communion in the hands was there earlier for hygiene reasons. It was brought back mainly to avoid the chances of misuse,” he told The Hindu.
Fr. Kavilpurayidathil said the diocese was the first to take such a precautionary measure, which could be adopted by other dioceses too in the infected regions.
He also confirmed that the priests would be part of the awareness campaigns conducted by the department.
The circular issued by Bishop Remigiose Inchananiyil said the Sunday catechism classes in the parishes would be suspended until July 10.
Similarly, baptism, consecration of marriages, prayer gatherings, and home blessings too would be put off.
Bishop Inchananiyil also urged the parishioners to cooperate with the Health Department in adopting the precautionary measures put in place and adhere to the related guidelines.
He also called upon them to postpone all religious conventions, group tours, and prayer gatherings till the situation was declared safe by the authorities.
source: The Hindu