The return of home visits

Procedures for a safe resumption of First Friday and Home Visits

Many priests and parishioners have felt deeply the loss of first Friday visits. Now, as restrictions
have begun to ease and in accordance with government and health advice, we are in a position to
make a cautious and managed return to this important pastoral ministry.
Before the Visit
When arranging a home visit, make sure to check with people that they are free of any Covid 19
symptoms and that they are happy to receive a visit from you. Let them know that, for their safety
and yours, you will be following health advice and that your time in the home will be limited. If
distributing Holy Communion, ask the person you are visiting to have a clean cloth on a table to
put the pyx on (or bring your own).
Current HSE advice states that facemasks should be worn when visiting people aged 70 or over,
or other vulnerable people, and social distancing should be practiced.
At the visit
During the visit maintain social distance and avoid physical contact and, if the person is over 70
or medically vulnerable, wear a face covering.
If distributing Holy Communion, place the pyx on a table with a clean cloth. Hands should be
sanitised both before and after distributing Communion, which is to be distributed in the hand.
Before leaving the home, sanitise your hands.
A habit that gives way to ministry
The above may seem quite mechanical and a far remove from the spirit of the pastoral
engagement in our first Friday ministry. Yet, at this time, these are the required precautions that
will enable us to resume and continue this ministry. As these practices become habit we will
become less conscious of them and will, I believe and hope, be able to focus our attention more on
this privileged and prayerful encounter in which we continue the loving and healing ministry of
Christ.