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Health in Celebrating

All the Priest’s words and actions are immediately noticed by those attending Mass. Though he should act as naturally as possible while he follows the liturgical indications, he should also remember that gestures either lead people closer to God in prayer, or unknowingly distract them.

A source of distraction could be those related with health considerations. When receiving Holy Communion, people want to make sure that the Priest’s hands are clean. The following practical suggestions might appear elementary, though at times they are overlooked:

  • Wash your hands before celebrating.
  • Make sure the vestments, linen and vessels are clean.
  • Avoid touching or cleaning your face area, especially the mouth, nose, eyes and ears. Doing so gives a strong sensation of contaminating your fingers and then the host, with saliva, mucous, perspiration and germs.
  • Keep your handkerchief or tissue within easy reach, to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, or to wipe your face – rather than using the purificator or finger towel.
  • If there’s really no time to reach for your handkerchief, sneeze or cough into the chausable on your forearm, rather than covering your mouth with your palms. Otherwise people will think that your saliva or phlegm is now on your fingers.
  • During consecration, keep your mouth at a distance from the hosts and the chalice.