Praying at Mass While Being Smart About the Coronavirus

Below is guidance from the Diocese of Brooklyn to parishes and parishioners about the coronavirus. We have implemented all of the precautionary measures recommended below at St. Charles Borromeo. Please also see Fr. Smith’s message about the other steps being taken at our parish.


1. Ask yourself how are you feeling? Use common sense, if you are not feeling well you should not come to Mass. If you are genuinely sick you are not obligated to participate in the Sunday Celebration of Mass. You should stay home and rest so as not to risk getting yourself even sicker or spreading germs to others in their church. If you are sick you also should not go out to a mall or movie theatre.
2. Wash your hands. Health care professionals are consistent persistent that washing one’s hands is the best practice during flu season as well as this period of concern about the Novel Corona Virus.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.


1. The smell of disinfectant might be more prevalent especially by the doors of the church. Parishes have been asked to be more attentive to cleaning the doors and door handles of the parish buildings. Some doors might even be left open that normally are closed to diminish hand contact.
2. The Holy Water fonts might be empty. Parishes have been instructed that Holy Water fonts should be emptied and cleaned on a regular basis. No one should feel obligated to use Holy Water upon entering or leaving church. A mindful recognition of entering the Lord’s Eucharistic Presence is most important.
3. People might not extend their hands in greeting. No one should feel obligated to greet the celebrant (or one another) before or after Mass with a handshake. Eye contact and a simple smile can be even more welcoming than a hurried handshake.


1. Pay attention to where you place your hands. Many people place their folded hands on their face or cover their eyes while praying in church. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instructs that you should avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This holds true for at church as well as in other public spaces.
2. The exchange of the Kiss of Peace among the faithful is being discontinued. The rubric of the Mass states that the priest or deacon should invite the faithful to exchange the sign of peace “if appropriate.” At this time, in light of the Novel Coronavirus, the Diocesan Bishop has determined it is not an appropriate time to do so.