Precautions to Prevent Spread of the Flu

January 11, 2013

The following guidance has been provided to parishes of the Archdiocese of Washington about preventing the spread of the flu.

• 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). Parishioners are not obligated 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 not attending Mass. Those who are sick may wish to watch the Sunday TV Mass on their television at home and pray in solidarity with their parish community. The Sunday TV Mass is broadcast on WDCW at 10:30 a.m.

• Ministers, including sacristans, servers and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, should be reminded to practice good hygiene. It may be practical and prudent to have hand sanitizer 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.

As is always the case during cold and flu season, schools are reminding parents that any child who is sick should be kept home. Classroom surfaces are disinfected regularly and there are age-appropriate directions for thorough hand washing and hand sanitizers are available in classrooms and cafeterias. Teachers also are reinforcing good hygiene practices with their students.

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