Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 11 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius of Laconi

Churches suspend sign of peace to battle flu

SHAKING HANDS

Tim Brown | CC

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 01/10/18

From Ireland: 

Mass-goers are being asked to consider an alternative to the handshake or sign of peace in a bid to combat the spread of the winter flu virus.


The Bishop of Cork and Ross Dr John Buckley has written to priests in his diocese, asking them to temporarily suspend the traditional handshake.




Dr Buckley has suggested priests ask congregations to consider using an alternative non-contact gesture to reflect the symbolism and meaning of the sign of peace.

This could range from a wave, a bow or simply a smile to show friendship and respect towards other Mass goers.




The measure is being recommended on a temporary basis.

It is aimed at avoiding any type of physical contact that could facilitate the spread of the flu virus between worshippers.


The precautionary measure was originally implemented during concern about the swine flu epidemic in 2009. Masses in the diocese of Down and Connor in Northern Ireland have also suspended the traditional sign of peace handshake this week.

They’re also advising people to stop the gesture in some churches in Dallas:

Local churches are trying to help stop the spread. There are 1.2 million Catholics in the Dallas Diocese. Every priest got an advisory on how to keep people safe this flu season. The Catholic Diocese in Dallas is taking extra steps to make sure people who attend mass stay healthy. There are 77 churches in the diocese. Many people have heard mass announcements asking them to not shake hands during the sign of peace. Some people have decided to not drink from the communion cup. Dr. Patricia Hughes is the director for the Office of Worship. She said, ultimately, it’s each person’s decision on what to do. “During the flu season, probably the most courteous and simplest thing to do is to make eye contact or do a simple head bow like this would be a universal sign of courtesy and hospitality,” said Dr. Hughes. Dr. Hughes also said if you feel sick, it’s okay to make the decision to stay home and not go to church.

Related: History of the Sign of Peace at Mass

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
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
2
SAINTS
Meg Hunter-Kilmer
Saints to help if Mother’s Day is hard
3
MOTHER OF ASIA - TOWER OF PEACE
J-P Mauro
Philippines finishes construction of largest Marian statue in the...
4
MOTHER SHORT FILM
Zoe Romanowsky
Moving 1-minute film about motherhood will touch your heart
5
FIRST LOOK
Sarah Robsdottir
Dad’s priceless reaction to newborn goes viral
6
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
3 Signs of a spiritual attack on your soul
7
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
See More