Omaha, NE: From sharing a handshake to sharing a communal cup, churches are relying on more than prayer to protect themselves from Swine Flu. A sign of peace is passed by a simple handshake. A handshake that could also be passing the flu. So some churches are taking action to protect their congregations.
Parishioners fill the pews for noon mass at Christ The King Church in Omaha. The Father passes peace saying, "May the peace of the lord be always with you." To which the congregation replies in unison, "and also with you" before turning to each other and shaking hands. It is a good opportunity to spready any flu bug. "People have been told as far as the greeting the peace goes to use their best judgement," explains Father Hugh Boschert.
While the mass is the same, a fear of the flu is forcing some changes. "In our worship service we aren’t offering the cup to drink from because we drink from a common cup and because of the flu we’re not doing that right now," says Father Boschert.
He explains Christ The King is not mandating new rules to prevent the flu bug from spreading. However they are asking parishioners to use common courtesy. If they are sick, pass on shaking someones hand.
Some churches are taking extra precautions to protect their parishioners from spreading flu germs, simply by not putting out Holy Water. Father Boschert says he has yet to see the flu impact a large portion of his congregation and he prays it stays that way. The Father says, "The rule of thumb that I always use is if they would go anyplace else then they ought to come to church if they don’t come to church then they shouldn’t go any other place."
Most other denominations tell Action 3 News they are not mandating any changes to prevent the flu. Late Thursday the Lutheran Church says they do not use one cup during Communion, instead each person receives their own cup. Doing so cuts down on the number of germs spread.
Category: Public Health