Interestingly enough, our very own bishop, Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer is from Buffalo. However, his recommendation is somewhat left to each priest and communicant. We can elimiante the common chalice or we don't have to if we warn people. Holding hands or shaking them should not be foisted on anyone, etc.
I decided to simply warn my parishioners about the danger of germs and told them one can contract the flu or any other communicable diseases from the common chalice no matter the season but I was not going to eliminate the common chalice until there was a common sense year round policy concerning it. In other words, I'm leaving it to the communicant to decide.
But in the EF Mass all of this is so foreign as there is no common chalice, no extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion in the congregation glad handing everyone and no shaking of hands or holding hands during Mass. In other words the EF Mass is healthier (on many fronts I might add).
The only disagreement I have with the article below is that one diocese is telling communicants to receive on the hand rather than the tongue out of germ concerns.
However, when I distribute Holy Communion into someone's palm, my fingers or part of them always touches their hand in one way or antoher. I don't drop the Host into anyone's hand.
But when I distribute Holy Communion to kneeling communicants, the fact they are keeling, stick their tongue out, tilt their head back means that I never have to touch their tongue even accidentally. This is not true, though, when one receives on the tongue while standing, especially if the person is taller than me. It's the kneeling that prevents the tongue touching!
BY THE WAY, GUESS WHICH PRIEST WHO HAS CRITICIZED ME FOR MY GERM CONCERNS HAS BANNED THE COMMON CHALICE IN HIS PARISH DURING THE FLU CRISIS? JUST GUESS!
Feb. 12, 2018
Flu Season Prompts Dioceses to Take Measures at Mass
Preventive actions include skipping the sign of peace or exchanging only verbal greetings and offering the Eucharist only in the form of hosts — and advising sick parishioners to stay home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the current flu season is approaching the peak of the 2009 pandemic, with a high hospitalization rate and more than 53 pediatric deaths so far. The CDC says all U.S. states, except Hawaii and Oregon, are reporting widespread flu, and the number with a high incidence of flu-like illness has risen to 42, plus New York City and the District of Columbia.
In response, some dioceses are directing parishes to temporarily skip the sign of peace or instruct parishioners to exchange only verbal greetings instead of handshakes. Other measures being implemented include offering the Eucharist only in the form of hosts and suspending the use of the common Communion cup.
Among the dioceses that have issued such directives is Buffalo, New York, which, besides suspending distribution of the Precious Blood during Communion, has reminded extraordinary ministers of Communion to wash their hands before Mass and to avoid touching the tongue or the hand of each communicant. The sign of peace is to be offered without any physical contact, and the diocese has suggested bowing in place of shaking hands.
Parishes in the western New York diocese also are being told to drain their holy water fonts regularly and clean them with disinfecting soap before refilling them. Finally, parishioners are being reminded that if they have a contagious illness, they are absolved from the Sunday Mass obligation and should stay home.
“We felt this was a commonsense response to some of the news we had been hearing about how serious the flu had become statewide,” said George Richert, director of communications for the Diocese of Buffalo. He added that the guidelines mirror some of those offered by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and include a few of the diocese’s own.
Dioceses that have announced similar directives include Rochester, New York; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Sacramento, California; and Norwich, Connecticut. In addition to the other precautions, Sacramento has told parishioners not to hold hands during the Our Father, and Norwich is asking parishioners to receive the Communion host in their hand, instead of on the tongue.