Skip to comments.SWINE FLU PRECAUTIONS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Posted on 05/02/2009 11:14:02 PM PDT by Salvation
Q. 1. I have been told that the Catholic Church has made some changes because of Swine Flu. Can you please expand on this matter?
A. 1. Because of the Swine Flu outbreak, some Dioceses in Canada (Edmonton, Alberta & Kingston Ontario), in the United States (Baltimore, Maryland) and in New Zealand have implemented new practices that are related to the celebration of the Holy Mass. These, while being temporarily, are a precaution against the spread of Swine Flu.
Basically, when attending Holy Mass, Catholics are asked to refrain from personal contact with each other. The following list has been compiled to represent some of the precautionary measures that have been adopted by some Dioceses.
1. The Sign of Peace.
Parishioners are no longer allowed to shake hands during the Sign of Peace. Instead, they are being asked to either nod or bow to those on their right and on their left.
This also means no more embracing.
2. The Lord's Prayer.
Parishioners are no longer allowed to hold hands during the Lord's Prayer.
3. Communion from the Cup.
That the practice of allowing people to drink consecrated wine out of a common cup be stopped.
4. Communion on the tongue.
People who normally have the priest place a communion host on their tongues will now receive it in their hands.
5. Expectation of the priests.
The priests are to practise good hygiene while distributing communion hosts.
6. Hand cleaning.
Each Parish should consider making hand-sanitizing liquid available in its Church.
7. The Holy Water at the entrance of the Church.
It is suggested that the containers of holy water typically located at the Church entrances be emptied and disinfected while the flu is spreading.
8. Those who are sick.
"It is not sinful to miss Mass if you are sick and unable to attend; it is an act of charity," says Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien of Baltimore, Maryland, US. Parishes have an obligation to advise parishioners with flu symptoms to stay home. Parishioners who experience flu like symptoms should stay home from Mass, especially in a health-threatening situation.
"I believe these steps are an appropriate response to the current alert level, stated Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in a letter sent to all the parish priests during the end of April, 2009.
Catholics are asked to pray for all who have been impacted by the Swine Flu, especially our sisters and brothers in Mexico, as well as the many medical professionals providing care and assistance to the sick throughout the world.
Every year, in every country of the world, thousands and thousands of the weak, the sick, the young and the old, die from the regular flu during the flu season. And nobody seems to care. The Catholic Church does not implement any preventive measures that could save lives during such times.
The sick continue to go to Church to infect other parish members. The sick continue to share the cup to infect those who will receive after them. The sick continue to shake hands with those around them, spreading their infection. And the list goes on, all in love and in the Name of Jesus.
Truly, where is charity in these actions? Should it not begin in the Church leadership? It is no wonder that for over 1,000 years, prior to Vatican II, the Church, in its wisdom, had done away with practices that literally kill others... no more touching each other, no more hand shakes, no more embracing, hugging and kissing. And no more sharing of the Cup, an unnecessary action. In the early days of the Church, the Fathers proclaimed that the fullness of Jesus is found in both, the Consecrated Wine and Bread. If by receiving the Body of Christ, you receive the fullness of Him, then, why is it necessary to also receive the Blood, by the sharing of the Cup, in a manner that can kill others?
This is certainly something to reflect upon.
As of the 5:30 Mass tonight, we had a letter from the Archbishop outlining almost identical guidelines.
No hand holding during the Our Father (which is a liturgical abuse anyway.)!!!!!
No Kiss of Peace hand shaking/personal contact!!!!
The only thing about this that I didn’t like was that I could not receive the Lord on my tongue; the host had to be put into my hands.
Maybe we can keep the others! (not really funny, I know, but, I don’t like the hand-holding and Sign of Peace.
Any comments from the rest of you?
After some painful deliberations I am strongly considering not going to Mass this week until more is known about the transmission and lethality of this disease. I do not believe that the precautions listed in the policy above could prevent my small children from being infected if the disease were present, and small children appear to be the hardest hit by this illness. My family has been generally refraining from most crowded areas the last week or so for fear of getting infected and bringing it back home. Hopefully more will be known by this time next week. Until then I sincerely hope that my prudential decision is not putting me or my family in a state of sin. The development of moral theology in some areas seems at times to be lagging advances in our understanding of microbiology and epidemiology!
They tried #4 a few years ago. Not the other just this one. Then they never went back. What a scam.
Well, going to 7:30 Mass this morning.
I guess if the Archdiocese of Washington implements rule #4, I won’t be receiving communion this week.
They have purell at every entrance asked everyone to wash their hands before entering and leaving. They also are not offering the Precious Blood until further notice.
They do have a sign explaining that this is under the direction of the archdiocese.
Parishioners are no longer allowed to hold hands during the Lord's Prayer.
This is a stickler for our priest anyway. He is a traditionalist and has often explained to those who attend scripture study that members of the parish should have their hands in an attitude of prayer.
It is only the priest who should have their hands outstretched towards Heaven.
I am not a hand grabber either and wouldn’t mind things stay more formal. If I feel the “need” to hug someone, I’ll do so OUTSIDE of church!
Where you're just as likely to spread or contract an infection as you are IN church. Unless everyone is going to refuse to touch another person, refuse to shake hands, refuse to receive anything from the hand of another person, disinfect everything before they touch it, etc. ALL DAY EVERY DAY, these guidelines (other than not sharing a cup) mean very little.
Whether they're positive or negative from a liturgical standpoint is a different question entirely.
Yes. I received an email about this yesterday afternoon. My daughter is making her First Communion next Saturday and I warned her earlier in the week that they might suspend the chalice.
>>I do not believe that the precautions listed in the policy above could prevent my small children from being infected if the disease were present, and small children appear to be the hardest hit by this illness.<<
The hardest hit (dying) are young adults.
But I can’t blame you.
A few weeks ago, we had a throaty, coughing bug. We watched Holy Mass on the internet.
You just wrote my sentiments. Word for word!
>>Where you’re just as likely to spread or contract an infection as you are IN church.<<
I think NewCenturions’ point is, one “choses” whom one hugs outside the church. Not just the person standing next to you.
Yes there is a risk hugging your friends, but MY friends are germ phobic and won’t be hugging anyone.
Here’s ours from Detroit
TO: Pastors, Parochial Vicars, Staff, and Parishioners
FR: Msgr. John Kasza, Secretary to the Archbishop and Vice Chancellor
RE: Precautionary Measures for Parishes Concerning Swine Flu
In the past week, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued warnings about the possibility of a pandemic arising from an increase in the swine flu virus. Many have been infected, some have died. Archbishop Allen Vigneron and his staff are monitoring the situation. Please know that the Archbishop is keeping all who are affected by this virus in his prayers. He recognizes the challenges facedâ and appreciates the expertise displayedâ by our government and health care professionals in dealing with this situation.
In our effort to be prudent without becoming alarmist, the Archdiocese of Detroit, after consulting with local medical experts, and following the lead of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issues these reminders. You are strongly encouraged to follow these practices and inform your congregations about them as to prevent the spread of disease.
Flu viruses are ordinarily transmitted from person to person through bodily fluids by physical contact, including contact with inanimate objects or by inhalation. The flu virus is more active in larger gatherings of people. However, there are ways to prevent the spread of the virus. These practices are strictly voluntary; however, in the interest of Christian charity, all persons are strongly urged to follow them:
1. If you suspect you might be infected with the flu virus, stay at home and do NOT attend Mass until you feel healthy. Missing Mass due to illness is not sinful; it is prudent and shows a respect for your brothers and sisters. Stay at home, watch “Mass for Shut-Ins” on television or the Internet, pray devotional prayers such as the rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, make a spiritual Communion, etc.
2. During Mass, at the Sign of Peace, you may choose to simply say “Peace be with you,” without offering your hand.
3. During Communion, you may elect to receive the Blessed Sacrament in the consecrated host and not receive the Precious Blood from the chalice.
4. Ministers of Holy Communion should wash their hands prior to coming to Church. The use of hand sanitizers, even during Mass, is acceptable for all ministers of Holy Communion, including the priest and deacon.
5. Reception of the Blessed Sacrament on the hand is the best way to reduce the possibility of flu virus transmission.
6. Following the celebration of each Mass, after the vessels have been properly purified, the sacristans should wash the vessels with hot, soapy water, then towel dry them, and put them away.
7. While scientific evidence is inconclusive at this point, some health professionals are recommending taking precautions when using holy water. Water from the fonts should not be ingested, nor should it enter the body via the eyes or nose.
8. Remind people to practice respiratory etiquette: cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough; wash hands frequently with soap and water and scrub for at least 30 seconds; avoid the transmittal of mucus or bodily fluids if you suspect you may be infected; refrain from shaking hands; refrain from sharing a common cup; and above all, if you feel sick, DO NOT come to places where you might infect others.
The latest information and advisories for our parishes and schools will be continually updated on our Archdiocesan website:
Thank you for your attention to these matters and for all that you do going forward to avoid spreading the flu virus.
I will find out this morning, but I doubt it. It won’t matter with the choir. We’re secluded and pass around other sorts of bugs all the time.
LOL! You’re right. I’m NOT a hugger of strangers and I would like it to be MY choice. I can make the person next to me feel welcome without giving them an embrace!
We’re heading to the 9:00 Mass. I’ll let you know how things are at our parish.
All except communion on the tounge were mentioned,implemented, and followed at my nieces first communion yesterday afternoon. I receive on the tounge and will NOT extend my hands. My priest will have to decide to deny me communion if that one comes to pass....
It was very strange yesterday in the fact that they did note even DO the sign of peace, they completely skipped it, went straight to the Angus Dei? Didn’t even say Peace be with you, and also with you and then the Angus? I can’t imagine THAT was what was intended, please post if your Church does the same. I am going to 10:30 Mass with my middle son who was unable to attend the communion yesterday due to work, at a different parish. Will let you know what happens there. Good luck all!
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