Bratislava, April 7 (TASR) – It’s currently impossible to organise mass confessions at churches as usual ahead of Easter “due to the epidemiological situation and measures ordered by the Central Crisis Management Team”, Slovakia’s chief hygienist Jan Mikas stated in an official instruction letter on Tuesday.
The hygienist conceded only the possibility of organising individual confessions “in exceptional (extraordinary, urgent) situations” upon previous request and with the observance of anti-epidemic measures. Moreover, the penitent must be “healthy and without mandatory quarantine measures”.
No more than one person can attend an arranged time for confession, they must be wearing a face mask and gloves, and they can’t be closer than two metres from the priest, noted Mikas.
“The ideal place for confession is exterior around the church (garden). In case of bad weather it’s possible to hear confessions inside the church, but only a limited number of people can be let in,” said Mikas.
The chief hygienist also issued a series of instructions to be heeded in the distribution of Communion. Meanwhile, public masses in Slovakia have been cancelled for almost a month now.
The communicant should be using a face mask and gloves, which both should be “taken off for a very short moment, before they get the host in their hands and insert it in their mouth”.
Meanwhile, the priest giving Communion should use a face mask and goggles. “It would be ideal to have a face shield,” added Mikas.