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Cold and Flu Season

posted Jan 18, 2018, 12:41 PM by Sue Hodgkiss

A few have asked about any changes to our liturgical practices during the season when colds or influenza virus are most prevalent, and so I offer this advice to parishioners, which has been reviewed with our Diocese. First and foremost: if you are feeling sick, and especially if you have active symptoms of influenza, you should not come to church. With such symptoms, it is impossible for you not to share the virus, as it is airborne and every breath and cough propels this into the air. There is no sinfulness in missing Mass when you are sick, and you should never put others at intentional risk of illness when you know you are sick.

If you are dealing with the common cold, and your symptoms are mild (or your doctor tells you that any antibiotics have gotten you past any infectious period), then you are welcome in our church. However, as a courtesy, I ask that you not receive the Precious Blood from the common Communion Cups, that you should refrain from shaking hands during the Sign of Peace, and avoid using the Holy Water fonts. While the far greater cause of sharing your germs is simply breathing in close proximity to one another, there can be an increased risk of sharing your cold through the shared cup or hand shake. Your fellow parishioners will understand, and will thank you for your consideration. For the sake of our ministers distributing Holy Communion, I would further recommend that if you have a cold, please receive the host in your hand, not on your tongue, to minimize any risk of infection to those ministers.

For everyone else, please use your own best judgment; if you have concerns about catching something from a neighbor in the pews, feel free to refrain from offering any sign of peace beyond a nod or a word – no physical touching is necessary, nor required at any time of year. Please do not take offense if your neighbor chooses to be cautious; “judge not, lest ye be judged” can be found right in the Bible!