At present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified Michigan as having “widespread” cases of Seasonal Influenza – or simply “flu.” Certainly, any such health matter is to be taken seriously. We encourage all Catholics to keep in prayer those who are impacted, and those in the health care community who are working hard to provide their important services.
According to medical experts, flu viruses are ordinarily transmitted from person to person through bodily fluids by physical contact, including contact with inanimate objects or by inhalation – and, accordingly, the flu virus is more active in larger gatherings of people. In the interest of Christian charity, your parish may be reminding you to take special care at Mass this flu season. Likewise, we urge all persons to consider the following when it comes to gathering for worship:
- Err on the side of caution if you or your child might have the flu, even if it means not attending Mass. Missing Mass due to illness is not sinful; it’s prudent and shows a respect for your brothers and sisters.
- During Mass, at the sign of peace, you may choose to simply say “Peace be with you,” without offering a handshake or an embrace.
- During Communion, you may elect to receive the Blessed Sacrament in the consecrated host and not receive the Precious Blood from the chalice.
- Take care to practice common sense and courtesy should you need to cough or sneeze. Cover your mouth and nose; wash your hands frequently and thoroughly; and refrain from shaking hands and sharing a common cup.
Thank you for your attention to these important matters, and for all you do going forward to help protect the health of those with whom you worship.