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Flu leads some US dioceses to alter sign of peace, mandate Communion under one kind

Catholic World News - January 17, 2013

The spread of the flu throughout the United States has led some dioceses to suspend the shaking of hands during the sign of peace and to suspend the use of a common chalice for Holy Communion.

The Dioceses of Manchester (New Hampshire) and San Angelo (Texas) have mandated the distribution of Holy Communion under one kind and directed parishioners not to shake hands during the sign of peace, while the Archdioceses of Boston and New York have left the decision to the discretion of pastors.

In addition, the Archdiocese of Washington has reminded Catholics that “no one is ever under an obligation to shake hands during the sign of peace” and “no one is ever under an obligation to receive from the chalice.”

“Anyone who is ill, or suspects he or she is ill, should refrain from receiving from the chalice out of good will and consider receiving the host in the hand rather than by the mouth,” the archdiocese added.

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  • Posted by: ColmCille - Jan. 18, 2013 9:27 PM ET USA

    Receiving in the mouth poses no danger of spreading germs, as long as it is done correctly. The communicant simply sticks his tongue out a little (rather than biting the Host out of the priest's fingers), and the priest places the Host on the tongue (rather than shoving it into the person's mouth). Anyway, flu is transferred mainly by hands, so it's as likely to spread if the priest touches the communicant's hand as his tongue. Last thing we need is to encourage more reception in the hand.

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