Catholic Church in NZ restricts some Mass practices

The National Liturgy Office and NZ Catholic Bishops, Friday, received new important from the Ministry of Health.

This advice specifically says the Church should desist with “the sharing of communion cups and shared holy water, and handshaking.”

Having received this, the NZ Catholic bishops are now updating their previous advice and  ask that:

  • At the Sign of Peace, people avoid shaking hands or other contact with one another, and instead smile, nod or bow to one another.
  • Holy Communion is not to be distributed from the chalice.
  • Communion is only to be distributed in the hand, not on the tongue.
  • Holy water is to be removed from stoups and containers at the church door.
  • Priests should not touch children’s heads when blessing them and then continue to distribute Communion.

The bishops are concerned there is a significant degree of fear among some parishioners, and it is essential that the Church is a safe place for people when they gather for Mass.

They ask each diocese, parish and Catholic community to respond with appropriate sensitivity to the fears that exist and again emphasise the importance of good practices of hygiene, including regular washing of hands, covering coughs and sneezes with elbows not hands, staying at home if sick, and trying to keep a metre away from people.


  • Supplied: David McLoughlin
    Communications Adviser, NZ Catholic Bishops
    Te Huinga o ngā Pīhopa Katorika o Aotearoa
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News category: New Zealand, News Shorts.