England & Wales: Catholic churches activate Swine Flu precautions

Sign of peace

Sign of peace

Dioceses across England and Wales have begun to implement Swine Flu precautions which were sent out on 20 July to coincide with the beginning of the school holidays.

The Bishop of Portsmouth, Bishop Crispian Hollis  this morning issued the following statement:
During the current swine flu epidemic, in keeping with the latest guidelines that I have received, I recommend that the following measures be implemented in Catholic Churches throughout the diocese from this weekend:

The Sign of Peace during Mass: instead of a handshake members of the congregation are asked to join their hands together, as in prayer, turn to their immediate neighbours, bowing slightly and saying “Peace be with you”.

Holy Communion is to be given only on the hand, not on the tongue or from the chalice.

Ministers of the Sacred Host are asked to ensure their hands are washed with sanitizers (provided) before and after ministering communion.

These regulations will remain in place until further notice. It is hoped that the reasons for this temporary policy will be understood and appreciated. They have been made out of particular pastoral concern for the vulnerable, namely, the elderly, children and those with underlying health problems.

Bishop Crispian Hollis                                                   
For more information issued by Westminster Diocese see: www.rcdow.org.uk/diocese/default.asp?library_ref=4&content_ref=2424

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