Catholic churches in RGV make changes to Mass amid coronavirus worries

Fr. Pat Fanning presided over Ash Wednesday Mass at the Queen of Peace Catholic Church. Ash Wednesday marks the start of the Lenten period leading up to Easter.

The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville is urging its churches to take precautionary measures with the reports of increased cases of the coronavirus in the United States.

Although there have been no reports of the virus in the Rio Grande Valley, the diocese says “it is prudent to take precautionary measures to protect the public health.”

Bishop Daniel E. Flores is requesting churches implement the following modifications as soon as possible:

>>Discontinuing the drinking of wine from chalice

>>Forgoing the holding of hands at the Lord’s prayers

>>A bow of the head for the Sign of Peace in place of shaking hands

>>Offering hand sanitizer stations at church and school entrances

>>Working with altar teams and parish volunteers to sanitize pews and hymnals

>>The removal of holy water from stoops at church doors

According to World Meter, there have been 164 confirmed cases and 11 deaths due to the Coronavirus in the United States. Texas has one reported case out of Houston involving a 70-year-old man, who remains hospitalized under isolation. He is listed in stable conditions.