Due to the latest developments surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Dutch bishops are taking additional measures.
All public liturgical celebrations on Saturday evenings and Sundays are cancelled until 31st of March.
This measure matches the most recent guidelines the Dutch government and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has issued (see https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/news/2020/03/12/new-measures-to-stop-spread-of-coronavirus-in-the-netherlands).
The bishops understand that the cancelling of Sunday mass is a difficult decision for many parishioners, but they ask for your understanding and prayers.
Celebrations during weekdays will continue due to their much smaller scale, this can offer people the opportunity of the spiritual communion.
The bishops also ask where possible to open churches to give opportunity for personal prayer.
When there is a celebration in a smaller scale, for example during baptism or funeral or other the receiving of other sacraments, the celebrant will act according to strict guidelines.
All parishes receive these guidelines through their bishops. These guidelines are aimed to prevent the spreading of the Coronavirus and at the same time to enable the pastoral work of the church.
When in contact with the elderly and sick the priests will consult the care home or hospital and follow the guidelines these institutions have.
All measures that were announced before at the end of February still apply:
– During celebrations (on a small scale) it is not possible to receive the communion on the tongue.
– The communion can only be received on the hand and is only distributed by the celebrant.
– The communion of the chalice is only for the celebrant.
– There is no handshake during the sign of the peace.
– Upon entering or leaving the church one can’t use the holy water.
From today these measures are in place until further notice and at the least until 31st of March:
– Public liturgical celebrations on Saturday evenings and Sundays are cancelled.
– Celebrations of Confirmation and the presentation of candidates for the First Holy Communion are cancelled.
– Baptisms and funerals are taking place in a small circle of people and are kept basic. A distance of one meter is kept between the attendees.
– The bishops are advising against all other meetings, such as coffee and tea, choir rehearsals and catechism/bible study meetings.
The bishops point out that there is an opportunity to follow the Eucharist on different media, such as:
- On Dutch television (in Dutch) through the KRO-NCRV, every Sunday 10.00 on the Dutch television channel NPO 2;
- Radio Maria broadcasts the Eucharist every morning at 09:00 and evening at 19:00 (also in Dutch).
- For mass in the English language we recommend the one broadcast by the Dublin diocese on their website: https://www.dublindiocese.ie/watch-listen-live/
To conclude, the bishops ask to pray this prayer:
God, our refuge in need, our power in despair and fear, our comfort in sickness and suffering, be near us and merciful to us, Your people. Now that we are experiencing the consequences of the Coronavirus outbreak. Be a protector for those who are infected. We pray for hope and recovery for them. We pray for those that have died, that they find peace in your presence. We pray for those that are working in public health and government, that they may experience your presence and blessing in their work. Make us realize how big your love is for each of us and that You are with us now that we experience the vulnerability of our existence. Strengthen our faith and our hope, so that we will always surrender to Your providence without hesitating. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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