I have been asked about the recent spread of the Covid-19 virus, also called Coronavirus, and how this affects our spiritual life. Our Archdiocese has prepared information about this which can be viewed on its website:
There is a link to the advice from our bishop, Metropolitan Silouan, as well as a leaflet designed by our community in Manchester. We need to follow sensible precautions but we should not become panicked or fearful. In particular:
Holy Communion. There has never been a recorded case of a disease passing through Communion. If this were possible, the priests would have had every disease over the last two thousand years as it is our responsibility to empty the chalice after the Liturgy and clean the spoon thoroughly. The reasons for this are both spiritual and physical, this is the Body and Blood of Christ which are life-giving as well as alcohol (in the wine) and plated-metal (the chalice and the spoon) having anti-septic qualities.
Kissing icons, the Gospel, the Cross, etc. The virus may remain on hard surfaces. During this period, we can show our reverence for our holy objects by standing in front of them, making the sign of the Cross, and bowing before them.
Staying home. It is not showing a lack of faith to stay home if someone is showing symptoms or has health issues that may put him or her at a particular risk — we should follow the advice the government is giving and will continue to give.
Nicole Roccas has written a reflection on this from a layperson’s perspective on her blog, Time Eternal, called In Faith and Love: A Layperson’s Perspective on Drawing Near during a Pandemic, which I have found useful.
Please continue to pray. If you have any particular questions please contact me and I will be happy to help.