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Parishes Take Precautions to Prevent Spread of the Flu
The Archdiocese of Washington has received inquiries about preventing the spread of the flu at Masses. The following guidance has been provided to parishes regarding shaking hands during the Sign of Peace and receiving communion from the chalice.
- Pastors should remind their parishioners that they are never under an obligation to shake hands with others during the Sign of Peace (a statement of peace, bow or other gesture is appropriate) or to receive communion from the chalice.
- Anyone who is ill, or suspects he or she is ill, should refrain from receiving communion from the chalice out of good will. Please use common sense: an illness is a legitimate excuse for missing Mass. Those who are sick may wish to watch the Sunday Mass on their television at home and pray in solidarity with their parish community.
- Ministers, including sacristans, servers and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, should be reminded to practice good hand hygiene. It may be practical and prudent to have hand sanitizer available in a discreet location near the sanctuary for the EMHCs to use before and after the distribution of communion.
- If there is great alarm, pastors may also consider discontinuing - temporarily - the practice of offering communion from the chalice.