Grand Rapids Diocese Bishop Walkowiak announced the changes today. 

The diocese says the changes were issued due to the confirmation of two cases of COVID-19 in Michigan on March 10 and because "many of our parishioners are considered high risk for contracting the virus."

The changes were announced in a statement and are effective immediately and until further notice. The changes are detailed below:

  • The distribution of the Precious Blood of Christ is to be temporarily suspended at all Masses.
      • If you are a parishioner with a gluten sensitivity, please contact your pastor to discuss options.
      • It is left to the discretion of each communicant as to how they would like to receive the Body of Christ.
      • Any Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion who feels uncomfortable distributing Communion should be allowed to temporarily step down from ministry.
  • Hand sanitizer should be used by all Ordinary and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion before and after distributing the Eucharist.
  • The Sign of Peace is to be exchanged without physical contact. Parishioners are encouraged to use some other gesture instead. (e.g., a nod of the head, a smile or a spoken greeting).
  • Parishioners should not hold hands during the Our Father. Although holding hands is a beautiful expression of people united in prayer, the gesture is not envisioned in any Church documents governing liturgy.
  • If your parish encourages a greeting with physical contact before Mass, that practice should be temporarily suspended or modified to not include physical contact.
  • Holy Water fonts will be emptied and cleaned. They should remain empty at this time.
  • During the celebration of confirmation, Bishop Walkowiak will not be shaking hands with the newly confirmed following the anointing with Chrism.