The Armchair Liturgist: Health Warnings

A physician parishioner expressed concern about liturgical practices during the flu outbreak. Our priest-in-residence proposed the following text for Mass this weekend:

Due to the outbreak of flu the medical profession has asked us to alert parishioners to the dangers of transmission through contact. So be understanding if those around you refrain from the handshake in the exchange of peace. If you have any concerns do not hesitate to omit receiving the Holy Eucharist from the chalice for the present. With God’s help, the flu season will be over shortly.

What do you think? Are Catholics sufficiently prepared to make these choices without reminders? Would you recommend germicide dispensers in the sanctuary? Any other steps to take, from the purple chair?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Health Warnings

  1. Jeff Pinyan says:

    I’m sure there are some people who would be offended about a lack of hand-shaking during the Sign of Peace if there wasn’t an announcement to prepare them for it. ;)

    I’m also curious what it might mean for the (E)MsHC if the same amount of wine is consecrated and a significant percent less faithful receive from the Chalice. The way some people “drain” the Chalice after Communion is over leaves something to be desired.

  2. Jason says:

    I was in Costa Rica about a year and a half ago, and the sign of peace was done by turning to the person next to them and placing the hand lightly on their back while offering “paz.” It threw me off at first, but I quickly adapted.

  3. Anne says:

    During flu season, sensible Catholics no what precautions to take, both at mass and at other secular occasions. I think it’s a good idea to have the antibiotic lotion for the priest to use as well as Eucharistic ministers. Can’t hurt. I’m not convinced that drinking from the cup is any less risky than recieving hosts from a hand that may or may not have touched someone’s saliva. It may not be a fair comparison but I wonder if people think about refraining from shaking hands at work, meeting a new client,at a cocktail party etc. during the flu season?

  4. Matthew Meloche says:

    Having gone to a Novus Ordo with a group of regular-Tridentine-Mass-goers, I’ve seen the offended looks on peoples’ faces when the Tridentiners just did a respectful smile and bow during the Sign of Peace.

    I don’t feel an announcement is really necessary though. If those people are really getting offended at the lack of a handshake, they really don’t “get” the Sign of Peace.

  5. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Matthew Meloche: If those people are really getting offended at the lack of a handshake, they really don’t “get” the Sign of Peace.

    Can you imagine how the congregation would act if people offered the kiss of peace?! ;)

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