Saturday, July 4, 2020

Diocese Releases Guidance for Preventing Spread of Illness, Coronavirus

Must Read

Saints for Today: Mary Euphrasia Pelletier, Religious (1796 – 1868)

Dr. Pelletier baptized his infant daughter at home because of the anti-Catholic persecution then raging.

Saints for Today: St. Irenaeus, Bishop & Martyr (130-220)

Irenaeus is without a doubt one of the greatest theologians of the second century.

Announcement of Death of Douglas McNeill, Former Priest of the Diocese

To the people of the Diocese of Gallup, The Diocese of Gallup has been informed of the passing of Douglas...
Suzanne Hammons
Suzanne Hammons is the editor of the Voice of the Southwest and the media coordinator for the Diocese of Gallup. A graduate of Benedictine College in Kansas, she joined the Diocesan staff in 2012.

It’s not unusual for temporary guidance to be released during the winter flu season, but the Diocese of Gallup is now issuing several extra measures and requests with the advent of COVID-19, or Coronavirus. There are now many confirmed cases of the virus across the United States, primarily on the East and West coasts.

Deacon Randolph Copeland, a licensed physician and the chancellor for the Diocese of Gallup, released a list of preventative measures in a letter for parishes, priests, Eucharistic ministers, and parishioners.

“It is premature to raise too great an alarm about the 2019-nCoV,” Deacon Copeland said. “However, adopting good public health hygiene practices can help stem the spread of influenza, coronavirus and many other contagious diseases.”

He notes that precautions listed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are good first steps, including:

  • Washing of hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, especially if a person has any condition that makes them more susceptible to infections.
  • Staying home when sick.
  • Covering a cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

In addition, Deacon Copeland lists “prudent responses” for church settings:

  • Communion distributed only in the form of the Precious Body
  • Limiting person to person touching by discouraging handshaking and hugs
  • Not holding hands during the Our Father
  • Advising a “no-touch” greeting for the Sign of Peace during Mass
  • Changing and cleaning Holy Water fonts often
  • Extra cleaning of water fountains
  • Placing hand sanitizer stations at convenient sites for clergy, staff, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, ushers and faithful attending Mass
  • Reinforcing the recommendation to stay home from Mass and church events when one is sick or coughing/sneezing
  • Clergy and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should wash their hands prior to distribution of Holy Communion, and as soon after as feasible. An anti-bacterial gel or hand wipes are acceptable options.
  • Increase housekeeping efforts to frequently clean surfaces that are often touched by people: doorknobs, door handles, banisters, and handrails
  • Counters for the collection need to wash their hands after their duties (protective gloves might be considered)
  • Encouraging the faithful to exercise the above practices advocated by the CDC.
  • When visiting the sick in medical facilities, follow the protection guidelines posted by the nursing staff

While the Coronavirus has a mortality rate of up to 2-3%, and most who become infected eventually recover, young children, the elderly, and those who are already sickly are at greater risk than most of the population, and many of these practices will help prevent the spread of illnesses in those who are more susceptible.

“It is recommended that the pastors/administrators observe the general health of the people in their community and react appropriately,” Deacon Copeland concludes. “Local medical providers may be able to assist in determining the prevalence of disease in an area. However, the ease of travel in the current days makes the spread of disease difficult to predict. Attention to the health news for the region or State is a wise practice.”

To keep up-to-date on news and recommendations regarding COVID-19, please refer to the following links:

NM Department of Health
Arizona Department of Health
National Centers for Disease Control




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Where to give and receive help during the Coronavirus

Are you in need of help, or would you like to give back in some way to your local community? Contact any of these organizations.


Other recent stories:

Meet the Diocese’s New Director of Religious Education

The Director of Religious Education oversees mission work, youth ministry, and catechesis for the whole diocese.

One Loss, One Win: Supreme Court Prioritizes Abortion in One Case but Supports Religious Education in Another

The U.S. Bishops spoke out against one ruling and in favor of another.

Considering a call as a deacon? The Diocese of Gallup’s diaconate program is enrolling for Fall 2020

"Deacons are called to service, deacons are called to assist at the altar, deacons are called to make up what is lacking in other ministries of the Church."

AZ Bishops Welcome Supreme Court Decision on DACA

"We are very much mindful that DACA children were often brought to this country at a very young age and through no responsibility of their own.  They were raised in the United States, attend our schools, make positive contributions to our society, and do not know any other country but our own."


More Articles Like This