PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) – Widespread influenza across the country and here in Rhode Island has prompted the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence to alter some traditions to keep parishioners healthy.
Bishop Thomas Tobin has suggested that parishes take precautions to promote “safe worship environments” during flu season.
The diocese said the precautions – which are suggestions, but not mandatory – include:
- The Sign of Peace need not be announced or exchanged.
- The distribution wine during Holy Communion should be discontinued for the time being.
- Those distributing Holy Communion should use hand sanitizer before Mass or even immediately before distribution.
- Provide hand sanitizers at the door of the church, school, or other public buildings.
- Parishioners are dispensed from – and should not attend – Holy Mass if they have symptoms of serious illness.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urges priests to practice good hygiene and sick parishioners to do what they can not to spread the flu.
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