The threat of swine flu is changing the way Catholics celebrate Mass on Sunday.
Peace will be more a state of mind for Catholics in the Diocese of Norwich than the act of shaking hands with their neighbors. There will be no more drinking from the same cup and parishioners are being asked to use their hands rather than their tongues when taking Communion.
The practices change on Sept. 5 and will continue until the risk of the virus has passed.
Most Reverend Michael Cote, Bishop of Norwich, wrote a letter on Aug. 25 and it was circulated at churches in the diocese over the weekend.
“With the opening of the academic year and the predictions of a ruse in the spread of H1N1 virus, it is time to revisit precautions undertaken last spring for our Eucharistic Liturgies,” he wrote.
“Holy Communion should only be distributed to non-ordained liturgical and the faithful under the species of the Consecrated Hot. Communicants should be encouraged to receive in their hands rather than on their tongue,” the Rev. Cote wrote.
Also gone from the mass are people holding hands during Our Father, and there is extra energy put on clergy and others to wash their hands.