Statement Regarding Minnesota’s First Case of COVID-19

From Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda

Please join me in praying for the full recovery of the first Minnesotan to be diagnosed with COVID-19/coronavirus. The Minnesota Department of Health says the adult is quarantined at home in Ramsey County and MDH is working with public health and health care experts to identify those who may have been exposed to him or her.

It is incumbent upon each of us to be vigilant and take all necessary precautions to slow down the spread of the virus. Earlier this week, the Archdiocese’s Office of Worship issued suggestions to all clergy and parish staffs to minimize the risk to the faithful who will encounter each other at our more than 180 parishes in the 12 county Metro area. Please allow me to encourage all parishes and the faithful to follow the guidance immediately and until state officials give the all-clear:

  • Stay home if you feel sick or have flu-like symptoms. You are relieved of your Sunday obligation if you are ill or are caring for someone who is sick.
  • Suspend the Sign of Peace or offer it without touching.
  • Suspend Communion from the Chalice.
  • Refrain from hand-holding during the Our Father.
  • Empty holy water fonts.
  • Place anti-bacterial hand sanitizer where Mass attendees can access it before receiving the Eucharist.
  • Remind Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to sanitize their hands before and following distribution of the Eucharist.

Most, if not all, parishes have already implemented precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19/coronavirus and many have communicated those changes with you. I ask you to be patient and diligent, as we all get accustomed to them and speak with your pastor, staff and parish leadership team if you have any questions or suggestions.

Please continue to pray for all of those who have died, those who are sick and those who are caring for them here in Minnesota, in the United States and around the world. Know of my prayers for you.