The Church & ‘flu
Keeping Well—Taking Care
Information about Coronavirus
The Bishops' Conference website has guidance from the Healthcare Reference Group about how local churches should respond to the outbreak of Coronavirus. This advice is regularly updated.
In order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS, at this time our Catholic churches are closed to the public.
Liturgical Advice has also been issued by the General Secretary to Bishops.
- Liturgical Advice for the Bishops of England and Wales in the light of the COVID-19 Pandemic (18 March 2020) - (pdf)
When Mass cannot be celebrated publicly
To assist people at this time the Liturgy Office has produced a leaflet When Mass cannot be celebrated publicly. It is available in a couple of different formats:
- When Mass cannot be celebrated publicly — A4 folded (pdf)
- When Mass cannot be celebrated publicly — A5 (pdf)
- When Mass cannot be celebrated publicly — epub
Sunday Prayer & Readings
To help individuals, groups and families pray together when Mass is not available the folllowing resources are provided. The Readings of the Sunday Liturgy of the Word and a simple form of prayer based on the above leaflet.
Congregation for Divine Worship Decree
The Congregation has issued a Decree In time of Covid-19 (19 March 2020) which offers guidance on the celebration of the Paschal Triduum and other services
- Decree in times of Covid-19 II 25 March 2020 (pdf)
- Decree in times of Covid-19 I 19 March 2002 (pdf)
Making it a Retreat
The Spirituality Committee has prepared a leaflet with some ideas about using the time of self-isolation as a retreat.
- Making it a Retreat (pdf)
Prayers during a time of 'flu and illness
The Liturgy Office has prepared with the assistance of the Spirituality Committee, a leaflet for parish and community use.
The texts from the leaflet and additional ones are given below. Further material can be found in the Prayer section — Prayer in time of Sickness. The leaflet includes a number of categories:
- General Prayers for Health
- Prayers for those in Authority
- Prayers for Health Staff
- Prayers for those Affected
- Spiritual Communion
General Prayers for Health
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Lord Jesus, you came that we might have life in all its fullness.
In this time of sickness and the fear of sickness,
give me the health of mind – that I might seek out wise guidance and act upon it;
the health of body – that will enable me to serve you and those around me;
the health of spirit – that my soul rests in the secure knowledge
that there is nothing that can separate me from the Father’s love.
Give me the grace to share your peace – that peace the world cannot give.
We ask this in Jesus' name.
Prayer for those in Authority
Loving God, in Christ Jesus, the servant of all,
you call us to the service of others.
Grant to those who govern the community
the skill to recognise its urgent needs
and the strength to pursue the common good.
Endow us all with patience and courage,
that we may care for the suffering,
feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and sustain the needy.
Through Christ our Lord.
Prayer for affected countries
You created our world and its peoples.
Today, we hold before you the people of (name of country) affected by the Coronavirus.
In your goodness, give courage and healing to those who are sick;
and sustain the doctors and nurses who work to care for them.
Give wisdom to those in authority there,
that in all their decisions,
the dignity and well-being of their citizens affected by this virus,
and other attacks on their health and well-being,
are of paramount concern.
Prayer for those Affected
come to the help of your people.
Be our shelter in this time of peril
and strengthen the bonds of our community.
Bring healing to all who suffer
the ravages of disease
and assist those whose skill and art
can put an end to this affliction.
Through Christ our Lord.
our refuge and our shield,
even when we walk in the shadow of death
you are there at our side.
Be with your people in this time of danger:
bring strength to the afflicted
and protection to those untouched by disease.
Give us love and courage,
that we may trust in your power to save
and reach out to all who need our care.
Through Christ our Lord.
There are times when people are unable to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, through illness or due to their personal disposition. Even though some may not receive ‘sacramental’ Communion, all are united in some way by the Holy Spirit. The traditional idea of ‘spiritual’ Communion is an important one to remember and reaffirm. A deep spiritual communion is possible even when we do not share together the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. (cf. Celebrating the Mass 212)
I believe that you are present in this Holy Sacrament of the altar.
I love you above all things
and I passionately desire to receive you into my soul.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
come spiritually into my soul
so that I may unite myself wholly to you now and forever.
based on a prayer of St Alphonsus Liguori
If there is a chance that a person has Coronavirus healthcare professionals may advise self-isolation for up to 14 days. Government advice should be followed.
Those who are self-isolated may wish to spend some of the time in prayer. Use might be made of websites such as Pray as you go, Click to Pray or Universalis to follow the readings at Mass each day or to join in the Prayer of the Church. Parishes will find ways of supporting people through prayer, communication (phone or social media) and practical support (food etc.).
Phrases from Scripture
O Lord, come to my rescue,
Lord, come to my aid. Ps 39:14
Be still and know that I am God Ps 46: 10
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. Jer 17:14
Lord, save me Matt 14: 30
Do not let your hearts be troubled… Trust in God. John 14: 1
Amen, Come, Lord Jesus. Rev 22:20
Invocation of Our Lady
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help, or sought your intercession
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To you I come,
before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in your mercy, hear and answer me.
Our Lady of Lourdes.
Pray for us.
Prayer for the Household
Hear us, Lord,
and send your angel from heaven
to visit and protect,
to comfort and defend
all who live in this house.