H1N1 prompts changes in Catholic Mass
Posted September 17, 2009 11:51 a.m. EDT
Updated September 17, 2009 12:18 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Bishop Michael Burbidge has asked all Catholic churches in the Diocese of Raleigh to alter their masses to limit the potential of spreading the H1N1 flu virus.
Burbidge sent a letter last Friday to Catholic churches across eastern North Carolina, asking them to temporarily suspend the practice of allowing people to drink from a chalice at communion. He also said the sign of peace gesture, in which people shake hands with those around them, would be stopped for the foreseeable future.
The bishop also reminded priests and others who distribute communion to wash their hands before and after Mass, and he said anyone who is ill should refrain from assisting at Mass until they are well again.
The changes should be taken as soon possible, but no later than Oct. 4, Burbidge said in his letter.