Catholic Diocese of Dallas: Don't come to church if you feel ill
05:47 PM CDT on Tuesday, April 28, 2009
By SAM HODGES/The Dallas Morning News
The swine-flu scare has prompted a number of recommendations from the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, including a big one about attendance at Mass.
“If you are not feeling well, especially during this time of concern, please stay at home and do not risk spreading infection to others,” said the Rev. Michael Dugan, the diocese’s director of the Office of Liturgy, in a statement posted on the diocese Web site.
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Father Dugan added that parishioners who do attend Mass while feeling under the weather should bow or wave during the “passing of the peace,” rather than shake hands with pew neighbors. Those who extend a hand and have it refused should not be offended, given the circumstances, he said.
The diocese also posted on its Web site a letter from Bishop Kevin Farrell, who said he has encouraged priests to consider suspending the use of wine during communion, since it’s offered from a common cup.
Bishop Farrell also said he has asked the priests to be sure that all Eucharistic ministers use “proper hygiene” when distributing the bread or host during communion.
At the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, in downtown Dallas, priests already had been equipped with hand sanitizers. But now those have been placed at the doors of the doors of the cathedral for parishioners’ use, said Sandra Cortinas, director of business administration.
The Diocese of Dallas covers nine counties, and has an estimated Catholic population of 1.1 million, in more than 70 parishes.