Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 24 September |
The Blessed Virgin Mary—Our Lady of Walsingham
home iconNews
line break icon

Catholics told not to offer Sign of Peace during flu outbreak

SIGN OF PEACE

George Martell | The Pilot Media Group | Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston | CC BY-ND 2.0

Zelda Caldwell - published on 01/16/19 - updated on 01/16/19

Church officials in New Mexico and Pennsylvania are advising parishioners to avoid shaking hands

In light of a rampant outbreak of influenza, some U.S. Catholics are being advised not to shake hands during the sign of peace during Mass.

The Diocese of New Mexico and the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, have issued directives advising Catholics to avoid physical contact with each in light of widespread flu activity reported by the Center for Disease Control.

In New Mexico, where four people have died since the flu season began, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe advised Catholics to “simply nod your head and avoid bodily contact” during the Sign of Peace. The directive also advised that Catholics refrain from holding hands during the Our Father, and noted that Holy Communion will only be offered in the form of the Consecrated Host, not by the Chalice of consecrated wine.

Parishioners were also advised to stay home rather than come to Mass if they were experiencing any symptoms, such as sneezing or coughing.

“You are welcome to take advantage of the Sunday TV Masses which are available in English and Spanish. It is not a sin to miss Mass on Sundays if you are ill,” read the press release.

In the diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, where flu activity was reported to be “widespread,” church officials announced that they would suspend the Sign of Peace altogether, and forgo offering the Chalice at Communion as well.

While officials report an increase in the number of people coming into the emergency room for the flu, the good news is that this year’s predominant strain, H1N1, is easier to prevent, according to Pennlive.com. The flu vaccine is about 60-65 percent effective, compared to last year’s deadline H3N2 strain in which the vaccine was only 30-40 percent effective.

According to a CDC report issued last Friday, between 6 and 7 million Americans have reported flu symptoms, and up to 83,500 have been hospitalized so far this year.

Tags:
ChurchHealth
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SLEEPING
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
2
OUR LADY
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
3
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
4
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
5
Tolkien
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
6
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
7
CHILDREN, PRAY, ROSARY
Aid to the Church in Need
What happens when a million children pray the Rosary?
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.