Bishop Malone gives special directives for Buffalo Diocese amid flu outbreak

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — In wake of widespread flu cases this season, Bishop Richard Malone is reminding clergy members and others to practice good hygiene and take extra precautions.

Here are the liturgical directives given by Malone:

  • “Holy water fonts are to be drained, cleaned with disinfecting soap, and re-filled with holy water on a regular basis. Sponges should be removed. Please note that old holy water should be disposed of in the sacrarium.
  • The distribution of the Precious Blood for the faithful is suspended, with the exception of those who must receive from the cup due to medical reasons. The faith of the Church teaches that Christ, whole and entire, is received even under only one species.
  • The exchange of the Sign of Peace is to be offered without any physical contact. If the priest celebrant chooses to extend the invitation for the sign of peace, the faithful, instead of a handshake, may bow to the persons nearby.
  • While the faithful retain the option of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue or in the hand, all ministers of Holy Communion are advised to distribute the consecrated hosts with care, being cautious not to touch the tongue or the hand of the communicant. Ministers should also wash their hands before Mass in preparation for the distribution of consecrated hosts.
  • Parishioners should be reminded that if they are ill or suspect they are ill with a contagious illness, they are not bound by the Sunday Mass obligation. They should remain at home and return to church when they are well.”

Malone also gave directives regarding schools within the Diocese of Buffalo. Here is what he wrote:

  • “Each morning, all parents/caregivers should assess all family members and especially all school-age children for symptoms of influenza (fever plus cough, sore throat or runny nose) or other symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea that might be influenza.
  • Each morning all school staff should assess themselves for symptoms of influenza.
  • Students or staff with influenza-like illness (fever plus cough, sore throat or runny nose) should stay home and not attend school. All sick students and faculty, including those who are showing symptoms, should stay home from school until at least 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.”

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