Anointing of the Sick and Clergy Providing Ministry to Persons with COVID-19

For clergy providing ministry to persons known to be carriers of COVID-19

Restrictions for who can fulfill this ministry:

  • No priest or deacon in the high-risk group (i.e., over 60)
  • No priest or deacon with comorbidity; i.e., when two or more chronic illnesses are present. For example, Hypertension, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, any cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, COPD, heart disease.

These restrictions follow the healthcare guidance that indicate younger, healthier individuals are at a much-diminished risk of contracting a serious case of COVID-19.

Anointing of the Sick

  • If this is performed in a hospital or healthcare facility, the guidelines for protective measures, including garments, prevail.
  • If this is not performed in a hospital or healthcare facility: If available, latex gloves should be worn unless the patient or priest has an allergic sensitivity to latex. Additionally, if available, protective eye wear (a pair of glasses will suffice) should be worn.  Eyeglasses or goggles or eye protectors can be re-used BUT MUST be cleaned immediately after each visit with Lysol/Clorox wipes or washed with soap and water.
  • The anointing may be done with a cotton-tipped swab or a cotton ball which is to be burned or buried after use.
  • If the priest uses his gloved hand, the glove is to be burned or buried after the visit.
  • If Holy Communion is given, it is to be distributed in the hand.
  • Maintain social distance (six feet) with everyone in the room, except the patient.
  • Do not offer comfort with any physical contact.

Also informed by best practice health care recommendations, the Archdiocese is establishing immediately the following directives for clergy providing Holy Communion to the Sick and Homebound:

  • If this sacramental ministry is provided in a hospital or healthcare facility, the guidelines for protective measures, including garments, prevail.
  • If not provided in a hospital or healthcare facility:  If available, latex gloves should be worn unless the patient or priest has an allergic sensitivity to latex.  Additionally, if available, protective eye wear (a pair of glasses will suffice) should be worn.  Eyeglasses or goggles or eye protectors can be re-used BUT MUST be cleaned immediately after each visit with Lysol/Clorox wipes or washed with soap and water.

If the sacramental ministry is provided in a home, the following directives apply:

  • Wash hands or use a hand sanitizer once you enter the home;
  • Avoid any physical contact with the person or family during the visit;
  • Use a hand sanitizer again before distributing Communion; If the communicant usually receives Communion on the tongue, strongly encourage him or her, for your safety as well as his / hers, to receive Communion in the hand.
  • Maintain social distance (six feet) with everyone in the room, except the patient.
  • Do not offer comfort with any physical contact.