Directives for the Distribution of Holy Communion


The following are directives from Bishop Mark regarding the distribution of Holy Communion in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Per the Bishop’s directives, Communion may be distributed outside of Mass beginning on June 1, 2020.

Those who approach Holy Communion should be properly reverent and disposed, keeping in mind that celebration of the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation has been restored in the diocese.

Those who come to receive Holy Communion are encouraged to have participated in a broadcast, streamed, or recorded Mass insofar as possible. Otherwise, they are encouraged to read the Scripture readings for the Mass of the day before receiving the sacrament. They should privately pray the Our Father just prior to receiving Holy Communion.

Holy Communion should be distributed during published periods of time to accommodate communicants. This schedule should include times in the morning, afternoon, and evening.  

Holy Communion is to be distributed at the church doors or other locations outside of the church. This is to avoid having more than 25 persons gathered inside a church at the same time.

While waiting to receive Holy Communion, everyone must observe physical distancing and use a face covering.

Stations for the distribution of Holy Communion must be arranged in order to facilitate proper distancing.

Arrangements should be made to have sufficient ushers/ministers of hospitality to direct people to the Communion stations. Moreover, it is advised that an usher or other attendant be at every Communion station.

Care should be taken not to create a hazard by putting Communion stations in the same place where automobiles are parked and will try to enter or exit where people are walking or waiting in line.

A suitable number of clergy and extraordinary ministers will be needed and trained in regard to these directives.

Communicants should sanitize their hands before receiving Holy Communion. The parish should make provision for this near each Communion station.

Communicants should receive Holy Communion in the hand if possible.

If Holy Communion is received on the tongue or on the hand and inadvertent contact with a person’s face, tongue or hand occurs, the minister must immediately stop and properly disinfect his/her hands before continuing.

All Ministers of Holy Communion should wear masks or face shields.

Ministers of Holy Communion should be spaced so that physical distancing is observed in any location where distribution takes place.

Tables, corporals, and hand sanitizer, disposable wipes/paper towels must be available for all ministers of Holy Communion.

In the event that a Minister of Holy Communion needs to sanitize his/her hands, the ciborium should be placed on the table, covered by a corporal or purificator, followed by washing and/or use of the sanitizer.