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On Thursday, March 5, 2020, this Pastoral Directive was sent to all the clergy of the Diocese of New Westminster regarding the administration of communion in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. As this situation unfolds in Canada and in British Columbia, the Synod Office will be continuing to communicate updates and broader guidelines to assist clergy in protecting the safety of our parishes and parishioners. This communique is focused on issues related to communion administration only and is based on the best information to date about what we can do to prevent the spread of viral or bacterial infection across all the parishes.

  1. The practice of intinction (dipping the bread or a wafer into the wine) must cease entirely. This should be announced at each celebration of Holy Eucharist and should also be included in all service leaflets for Holy Eucharist.
  2. The use of non-alcoholic wine or fruit juices in lieu of communion wine must cease entirely.
  3. The practice of the assembly administering communion to each other (versus communion being administered by trained, prepared communion administrants) must cease entirely.
  4. The vessels for the administration of wine must be silver chalices (no pottery, no wood, no glass, no small, individual cups of any material). All chalices and patens must be washed with hot (preferably scalding) water and soap prior to each use.
  5. Alternatively, a priest may temporarily suspend any administration of wine at communion.  Should a priest do this, the celebrant at Holy Eucharist should consecrate a chalice of wine during the Eucharistic Prayer and consume it themselves
  6. All communion administrants must follow the following regimen:
  • Prior to the administration of communion all administrants must wash their hands and/or sanitize their hands with hand sanitizer.
  • Clean purificators must be used at all times, with extra clean purificators available as needed.
  • Those administering the wine must gracefully but firmly decline to allow anyone receiving communion to intinct the bread.
  • Those administering the wine must effectively use a clean purificator to wipe the cup (inside and outside the rim) with appropriate strength after each person drinks from the cup, turning the cup after each person receives so that each person drinks from a new/fresh part of the rim.
  • After the administration of bread and wine, all administrants must again wash their hands and /or sanitize their hands with hand sanitizer.

7.  All clergy leaders in parishes in the diocese must teach their parishes that receiving communion in   one kind (bread only or wine only) is, according to the Church’s teaching, the same as receiving in both kinds, that is, receiving the fullness of Christ in the Eucharist.

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