Saturday, June 20, 2009

Liturgical guidelines regarding "swine" flu in Jaro Archdiocese

Jaro liturgy desk releases guidelines for A(H1N1) virus

ILOILO CITY, June 20, 2009—The Jaro Archdiocesan Commission on Liturgy has recently issued a circular on the guidelines of the Church for the prevention of the pandemic Influenza A(H1N1) virus.

The circular focused on the hygienic preparations that priests and lay ministers must do during the celebration of the Eucharist. [It's not lay ministers!  It's Extraordinary Ministrer of Holy Communion!  When will they get this?]

According to the guideline, priests and lay ministers must wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizers before giving the Holy Communion. 

It also directed that churchgoers must refrain from physical contact especially in offering the sign of peace where a simple nod can be a good substitute gesture. [We don't need the virus to stop this.  We have Redemptionis Sacramentum.]

Released last Wednesday, the said advisory has said that the stoups have to be emptied of the Holy Water and that churchgoers are advised to just make the sign of the cross without dipping their fingers into it. [Huh?!?!]

Meanwhile, Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo [He is the current president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines] encouraged the clergies, the religious and all the faithful to follow the guidelines given by the liturgy desk of the archdiocese. 

“The Commission on Liturgy in the Archdiocese came out with an advisory to help prevent the spread of Swine Flu or Influenza AH1N1) virus for the duration of the pandemic, he said. 

“I exhort all the clergy, the religious and all the faithful of the Archdiocese of Jaro to take into consideration this advisory.” [So if it's an advisory, people can disregard it?  Just asking.]

The said circular was drafted before the first confirmed case of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus reported in Iloilo. 

Recently after the A(H1N1) outbreak reached the Philippines, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales has instructed certain precautions to arrest the spread of the virus.

Rosales asked that the Holy Communion must be given only through hands and that holding of hands during the Lord’s Prayer must be avoided.


At LEAST, the archbishop did not FORCE Communion in the Hand!!!


  1. I belong to the archdiocese of jaro. Last friday, the feast of the sacred heart, I went to mass in a parish church. during the homily, the priest informed the people of our archbishop's request that he encourages the faithful to receive communion in the hand. During communion,the EMHC, after saying "the body of Christ" said to me, "sa kamot lang" meaning: "only in the hand" I insisted on receiving on the tongue and the EMHC reluctantly placed the host on my tongue. I hope that this will not happen again. I do not want to be forced receiving communion in the hand. I have read redemptionis sacramentum, and I am aware that no one may be prohibited from receiving on the tongue. do you have the official guidelines of the archdiocese of jaro?

  2. Lonnie, the circular does not mention of communion only in the hand during this Inluenza A (H1N1) scare. I'm trying to get a copy of the circular. Unfortunately, the archdiocese does not even have its own website.

    You are right to assert your right to receive it in the tongue and it is a good thing that the EMHC did not insist so as to create a disturbance to give it to you on the hand.

    My friend and I had a debate about this and he is insisting on Christian charity, to think about others who will be receiving Holy Communion. I do agree about this but it is also the right of every Catholic to receive the Eucharist in the time honored tradition which is via the tongue. You do know your rights, Lonnie and knowing Redemptionis Sacramentum (RS) is a sure defense against liturgical novelties which are sooo widespread in the Philippines.

    I do hope that if it happens that you encounter a priest or EMHC refusing to give you communion in the tongue, you'll find the courage to tell the parish priest or archbishop about this and insist on your right as protected by RS. And I HOPE that they act on this.

    BUT... if you cannot find anyone to give you communion in the tongue... will you let go of the opportunity to receive the Lord because you do not want to receive him other than in the tongue?

    Just my thoughts, as I had witnessed and experienced a similar event like yours just yesterday. Let us pray that this Influenza scare goes away and we live our Catholic faith normally, no novelties.