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Coronavirus impacting how Catholic churches in West Texas take communion

Communion, holy water fonts and sign of peace are just a few things the Catholic church is changing in hopes of keeping the virus from spreading.

ODESSA, Texas — In good times and bad, people go to church to seek solace, casting away all fear and doubt and by putting their trust in a higher power.

Even so, when it comes to the coronavirus the faithful believe better safe than sorry.

That includes the centuries-old tradition of how Catholic churches take communion.

In fact, they are making immediate changes to prevent the virus from spreading within the Catholic church.

“It’s not uncommon for a lot of people to receive communion on the tongue," said Timonthy Hyter, Father at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. "But the Bishops have asked to receive on the hand instead.”

Communion is not the only thing the Bishop is changing in the churches.

Other precautions include:

  • Greeting people with limited physical contact
  • Holy water fonts being removed until further notice
  • Refraining from holding hands during prayer or sign of peace

The San Angelo Diocese says in part, "It is not sinful to miss Mass if you are sick; it is actually an expression of care for the health of others."

Father Timothy believes this is just temporary and will all help minimize the virus from spreading. 

While St. Elizabeth cares for the Body of Christ by first taking care of its own bodies, they are also doing what they can to sanitize the church.

“Taking extra special care cleaning after masses," Timothy said. "Wiping down everything that might come into contact with people.”

The church wants to wipe out any worries you might feel about skipping out on church or communion because of your health.

"There’s a lot of fear surrounding the Coronovirus but that’s when we need our faith most.”

All of these efforts by the church to hope to give people peace of mind in these uncertain times.

Catholic churches here in the Basin are not the only ones taking precautions.

Some Episcopal and Methodist churches say they are still doing communion but with limited sharing. They are also telling parishioners they do not have to take communion if they do not want to.


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