Catholic Diocese of Macau
Pastoral Directive, Version 2 (*Revised 29/01/2020)
On Preventing the Spread of Infectious Disease
As the novel Coronavirus outbreak worsens, all are advised to pay close attention to the latest news release by the Macau SAR Government (www.gov.mo) and duly abide by all official acts as announced. The Diocese has updated its pastoral directive which replaces the one issued earlier on 23 January 2020. All those in charge of parishes, communities, facilities, and schools, etc, are urged carefully to carry out relevant preventive measures.
- Public Hygiene in Churches and Church Owned Venues
- 1.1 Apart from designated times for liturgical celebrations, all churches of the Diocese shall be closed to the general public until further notice. Reception of groups of pilgrims from abroad will be temporarily suspended.
- 1.2 Ensure proper ventilation in churches, meeting halls, and other venues for gathering.
- 1.3 Provide hand sanitiser dispensers at entrances to churches and other venues. The faithful are encouraged to carry and use their own hand sanitisers.
- 1.4 Thorough cleaning of microphones, liturgical vessels, communion plates, collection baskets/bags, door handles, floor, kneelers, confessionals, screens, sacristy areas, and washrooms, etc. is regularly to be undertaken.
- 1.5 The use of all books and hymnals for common use is to be temporarily suspended.
- Holy Mass and Liturgical Celebrations
- 2.1 All clergy and faithful are to wear masks in church and in gatherings. Faithful who feel unwell（e.g., fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and manifesting other symptoms of respiratory distress) are dispensed from attending Holy Mass (or any kind of church activities) during their illness and recovery. Those who are unable to fulfill Sunday and Holy Day obligation are encouraged to perform other acts of piety such as lectio divina, spiritual communion, and rosary at home.
- 2.2 Holy water fonts at the entrance to churches should be emptied. The faithful do not need to bless themselves with Holy Water for now.
- 2.3 A respectful bow at each other during the exchange of the Sign of Peace during Mass will suffice.
- 2.4 Holy Communion will be distributed to the faithful during Mass in the form of bread only; the distribution of the Precious Blood will be suspended for now.
- 2.5 Holy Communion does not need to be given on the tongue for now but may be given in the hand.
- 2.6 At Masses where the collection (money) is taken, the collection is to take place after the distribution of Holy Communion.
- 2.7 Priests and ministers of Holy Communion are to properly cleanse their hands before the distribution of Holy Communion (e.g., with alcohol rub sanitisers); they should also cleanse their hands after distributing Holy Communion.
- 2.8 Liturgical ministers and servers are to cleanse and sanitise their hands before the start of celebrations, especially those who have to enter and exit the sacristy.
- 2.9 Choir singing is suspended at all Masses and public liturgical celebrations; the congregation may sing familiar settings of the Ordinary of the Mass or the organist may simply play musical pieces at Mass.
- 2.10 Readers, leaders, and organists should prepare their own copies of readings and music scores.
- 2.11 Except in cases of emergency or other exceptional circumstances, all baptisms of children are to be postponed.
- Pastoral Care for the Sick and the Elderly
- 3.1 Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and other pastoral staff are to suspend all visits to hospitals, old age homes or homes of patients or the elderly. Should the necessity arise, please consult the parish priests.
- 3.2 In cases of urgent need, the Diocese will delegate priests to administer the sacraments in hospitals and other elderly home facilities. Patients, elderly, or family members please contact the hospital chaplain of the Conde S. Januário Hospital, Fr. Edgar Passaporte SSP (Tel. 2837-3094 or 2853-3538), or their own respective parish priests.
- Activities in the Diocese
- 4.1 In line with the instructions given to all schools by the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau, all Sunday School and children’s catechesis classes in the Diocese are suspended until further notice. Parish priests and pastoral staff are to determine whether or not to continue RCIA programmes according to particular circumstances.
- 4.2 All commissions, institutes of religious life, pious associations and organisations in the Diocese should reduce or cancel regular meetings during this time of infection prevention and control.
- Work Arrangements for Staff
- In response to the Government’s call, all parish priests and diocesan department heads should discuss with staff about flexible work arrangements. Employees do not have to come to work until 3 February 2020 except for those who are required to ensure the provision of necessary services and to meet basic operational needs. Staff feeling unwell should inform those in charge and seek medical assistance at once.
- During this period of disease prevention, parishes are encouraged to publicly recite the following prayer of St. Roque after Masses:O Almighty God and Father of the poor, since You did strengthen St. Roque by Your divine grace to help the sick with admirable way of curing them, grant us your mercy through the merits of St. Roque, that we may be spared from all sickness and contagion through his intercession, and that we may receive the grace to be delivered from the greatest evil, which is mortal sin; so that after the trials of this life we may be worthy to be admitted into your eternal glory in heaven through Christ our Lord. Amen.Parishes may make copies of this prayer for the use of the faithful.
- Attention to Latest Notices
- All pastoral ministers, heads of units, and the faithful should raise their awareness of personal and public hygiene and pay close attention to the latest health notices; masks should be properly worn and hands frequently washed. Planning and arrangements for individual and community activities should be duly adapted to accommodate the exigencies of the current situation.
- “Blessed are the merciful” (Matthew 5:7). Let us renew our faith in Our Merciful Lord Jesus. Let fear not dominate us, rather, let us care for those around us in charity, as salt of the earth and light of the world, maintaining peace and joy while spreading the seeds of hope. A positive Christian attitude is much needed in face of the current situation. Let us also make use of the time at hand to meditate on the Word of God in a prayerful spirit and benefit from wholesome spiritual readings.
Given at the Chancery Office, 29 January 2020.
Rev. Cyril Jerome LAW, Jr.