January 28, 2018

January 25, 2018

My dear parishioners,

 

Today I share with you the recent memorandum from the Office of Divine Worship in the Diocese of Providence regarding the recent influenza outbreak.

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Each year at this time concerns are raised regarding the potential spread of influenza throughout various communities. The most recent weekly report from the State Department of Public Health categorizes the statewide estimate of influenza activity as ‘widespread’. In addition, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this year’s flu vaccine is less effective in the prevention of  influenza A(H3N2) than in prior years.

 

Pastors are therefore encouraged to prudentially consider the following guidelines and suggestions as they pertain to your local community:

 

During the Eucharistic Liturgy, the Sign of Peace need not be announced or  exchanged. (As you know, the exchange of peace is always optional during Holy Mass, omitting the invitation “let us offer each other the sign of peace” GIRM 154)

 

If your parish has the practice of distributing Holy Communion under both species, the distribution of the Precious Blood of Christ from the chalice should be  discontinued for the time being.

 

Those who are distributing Holy Communion should be especially mindful of the particular need for personal hygiene before the distribution of Holy Communion. It is permissible to use hand sanitizer before Mass or even immediately before distribution of Holy Communion. A consideration should be made for having hand sanitizer easily available at the doors of the church, school or other public buildings.

 

Finally, but certainly not least in importance, we approach this situation as we approach everything in life, from the perspective of our faith and in prayer. Please ask the Lord’s protection upon our community during this time of widespread  illness.

–Monsignor Montecalvo

 

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