Thursday, January 9, 2020


Santa Fe archbishop issues safety directive for flu season

Archbishop John C. Wester Issues Directives Regarding LiturgicalPracticesDuring the 2020InfluenzaSeason ALBUQUERQUE Tuesday, January 7, 2020IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

New Mexico is one of the states listed by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as having widespread influenza outbreaks and high Influenza-like Illness (ILI) Activity. Due to the increasing severity of the influenzaseason, Archbishop John C. Wester directs the following steps be taken in regards to the celebration of Mass: 

 During the Sign of Peace, instead of shaking hands or hugging as is often practiced, please simply nod your head toward one another and avoid bodily contact. 

While some persons have the practice of holding hands during the Our Father, they are asked to refrain at this time. They may extend hands toward Heaven or fold their handsfolded hands being the liturgical norm.

 Holy Communion isnot to be received under both species; rather, only the Consecrated Host is to be distributed. The Church and its Councils have always recognized that both the Lord’s Body and Blood as present even in either species alone. This will limit contact with saliva and the potential spread of the influenza virus.

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should wash their hands just prior to distribution of Holy Communion, and such is recommended also after distribution for their own protection. An anti-bacterial gel or hand wipes may be used. 

Those who are sick, sneezing or coughing are highly encouraged to stay home. Sunday television Masses are available in English and Spanish. It is not sinful to miss Mass on Sundays due to illness. 

Please remind all that the influenza virus is virulent, causing deaths each year especially among the very young and the elderly. The archdiocese institutes these directives not to limit expression of faith, but rather as a preventive measure against a widespread and potentially deadly disease. 

 Thus we ask cooperation in laying aside optional personal preferences for service and charity toward your neighbor.


Lawoski said...

My parish suspended all "contact" rituals (except distribution of the Precious Body) beginning January 1. The suspended contact rituals (pre-procesdion greeting of neighbors, sign of peace, and receiving the Precious Blood) resume Holy Thursday.

Anonymous said...

I read Georgia leads the country in influenza cases. Why haven't the bishops suspended Communion from the cup and also asked priests and EMHC not to touch the hair and clothes of people not receiving Communion when they go up for their participation trophy blessing at Communion time?

rcg said...

FSSP parishes are doing this: Church Militant, y’all.

Anonymous said...

Hand hygiene -washing and sanitizing the hands- is at or near the top as a precautionary measure in reducing and preventing the transmission of infectious agents. I say this as someone who has worked in a healthcare facility for over twenty years. Everyone who partakes of the cup of the Precious Blood takes the chalice into their hands in order to receive. This is the greater way of transmission of infectious agents than is oral transmission by way of putting chalice to mouth. And, yes indeed, as of last week Georgia was number one in the U.S. in the incidence of flu illness.
Prudence is the order of the day, so suspension of the Communion cup and other precautionary measures should be employed at this time until further notice.

Bob said...

Next door to NM, folk are still merrily chugging from common chalices, which normally are only wiped and replaced onto a table at back sidewall of sanctuary. I normally pass on that honor and stick with the consecrated wafer.

Bob said...

I would like to add as for control measures that many directives are simply floundering when not complete....there is not much difference between shaking hands and handling same hymnal or door handle or missal...

Anonymous said...


Unless everyone used a hand sanitizer upon entering the nave, it is difficult to
prevent bacterial or viral transmission. Even at that, everyone sanitizing would have to know how to do it properly and effectively and employ it the correct way.
There are just too many possible transmission sites. And let us not even get into
what has been found in Holy water.
Of course, the fact that there are those who have been inoculated against the flu and pneumonia and those who have enough immunity and resistance keeps the rate of infection below what it might be otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Bacteria, viruses, and fungi - all of which can cause us deadly harm - are all around us every day. Hotspots include gas pump handles, mailbox handles, escalator rails, and ATM machine button.

Oh, did I mention that sponge or dish towel in your kitchen? EWWWW ! Or your cell phone and your wallet and/or purse? And those menus they hand you ate the diner, or the pepper shaker you use. Did they REALLY clean the plates and glasses and cutlery? Did the chef sneeze into your bouillabaisse, or did the high school kid in the fast food eatery drop your burger patty on the floor and, since no one was looking, just plop that thing back on the bun and serve it to you? Yummmm!

We, every day, encounter millions (billions?) of potential pathogens

YET... we don't get sick after each encounter. We have been given am amazing defense mechanism - our bodies. Our skin, mucous membranes and mucus, tears, earwax, and stomach acid keep these infectious agents at bay. Your blood is loaded with neutrophils and monocytes that eat (!) germs that get past the first lines of defense. If something manages to get in, you get a fever which, in the vast majority of cases, takes care of things.

Take normal precautions - wash your hands frequently. Oh, but try to avoid using the push button dispenser for soap or hand sanitizer dispensers. They are LOADED with potential deadly bugs.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A@7:14 am, all very good points, and yes being exposed to pathogens increases our immunity for most but not all.

What you don’t point out in terms of our daily contact with bad things, is an intention to lick those things that have these pathogens, for examples door knobs, hymnals, soap dispensers etc. we might unintentionally bring our contaminated hands to our face, mouth, eyes and nose after touching contaminated objects. But I assure you most of us after flushing a toilet don’t lick the flusher or intentionally bring our hand to our mouth and lick the fingers that flushed.

Drinking from a common chalice, glass or can is quite intentional. And being the one who drinks after multiple communicants have done so, some who might be ill, is UNBELIEVABLE!

Anonymous said...

Contamination by hand, not by licking, is the problem with gas pump handles, mailbox handles, escalator rails, and ATM machine button, menus, pepper shakers, kitchen sponges, and dish towels.

Mysophobia - the excessive fear of germs - has led us to over-sanitizing which, in turn, is leading to the rise of super-pathogens.

Contributing to the development of super-pathogens is UNBELIEVEABLE!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Again thanks for agreeing with me that placing one’s mouth intentionally on the rim of a common chalice that scores have done so is UNBELIEVABLE! Shaking someone’s disease hand and getting sic by touching your mouth, eyes, nose etc unintentionally is not unbelievable and for those who do get sick immunity would be developed in some cases. I wonder though, if you would go to Mexico and drink their tap water on purpose to build the same immunity Mexicans have for their own tap water that seems not to affect them.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder though, if you would go to Mexico and drink their tap water on purpose to build the same immunity Mexicans have for their own tap water that seems not to affect them."

You lack of basic knowledge of how this process works is appalling, thought not surprising.

Maybe you'll start cutting the tails off lizards to see if they, then, will be the parents of tail-less offspring.

Bob said...

As for constantly cited use of hand sanitizer, allow me to point out those are loaded with a preservative named by the American Dermatological Association as allergin of the year a few years ago, and that 10% of all users will develop crippling and disfiguring reactions to them with only smallest exposure. Please to be looking up MCI/MI allergies if you are having problems with skin scabbing/peeling/itching. A very widespread problem safely brought to you by the same folk who know all about climate change and safe and effective birth control.