The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has caused no little amount of concern, especially if you watch the news. Therefore, it seemed worthwhile to address a few of the issues, especially as it relates to our use of the Common Cup.
The first rule with any bit of news is: Don't panic! And be reasonable in your approach. Taking good, commonsense precautions usually is the best way to avoid any virus, such as the flu. And remember, it's no help to treat it like the Apocalypse (or worse) as the media seems intent on doing.
First, pray. Pray for our country and people at risk, such as the elderly. Pray for other countries as well. Perhaps this goes without saying.
The Common Cup. We will continue to do this as there are sufficient studies (see below) about how the Common Cup has not had significance in the passing of infectious diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown, "the risk for infectious disease transmission by a common communion cup is very low, and appropriate safeguards--that is, wiping the interior and exterior rim between communicants, use of care to rotate the cloth during use, and use of a clean cloth for each service - would further diminish this risk," (American Journal of Infection Control). Which is quite a comfort!
Intinction. Intinction is when the Bread is dipped into the Wine. It is a little less sanitary to intinct than to drink from the Common Cup as people commonly touch either the consecrated Wine or the side of the Chalice. If you prefer this method, allow the Priest or the Lay Eucharistic Minister to intinct for you. Their hands will be clean; others' might not.
The Peace. If you feel uncomfortable hugging or shaking hands, you can touch elbows or nod in mutual acknowledgment. It's a great time to practice mutual respect and communicating with one another.
Precautions. We have an abundance of hand sanitizer. Feel free to use it. And the CDC recommends:
Resources. Here are some resources:
Letter to the Editor from CDC Scientists, "Risk of Infectious Disease Transmission from a Common Communion Cup"
American Journal of Infection Control (Vol. 26, pgs. 538-539).
Peer-Reviewed Article, "The hazard of infection from the shared communion cup"
Journal of Infection (1988) (Vol 16, pgs. 3-23).
If you have any questions about this, or further concerns, do ask me. I'm available at coffee hour and throughout the week. You can email, call, or text me.
Grace & peace,