Catholic Diocese of Jackson Taking Swine Flu Precautions

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Bishop Joseph Latino of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson says some parishioners have expressed concerns over various parts of the Liturgy that might cause further spread of swine flu. Bishop Latino says for that reason the Jackson Diocese has ordered some changes to how Mass is held.

"I am recommending and asking all parishes to dispense from distributing Holy Communion from the cup to the congregation until further notice," said Bishop Latino. "I also ask that, in order to protect our Communion ministers, those parishioners who normally prefer to receive Holy Communion on the tongue to please receive in the hands until further notice."

In an official statement, Bishop Latino also addressed how Catholic parishioners should interact with one another during Mass.

"Also, the pertinent question of shaking hands at the Sign of Peace has arisen. Therefore, the faithful should be encouraged to share the sign of peace without touching hands or kissing until further notice."

Officials with the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi say so far they have not taken such steps. They are encouraging people to use good hygiene and common sense. People who are sick are asked not to drink from the common cup.

"If we have any reported cases around here, then we may have to make changes. But right now, we are distributing both species of bread and wine," said Biloxi Diocese Spokesperson Shirley Henderson.

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