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Diocese urges people with flu symptoms to remain at home and not attend Mass

The Diocese of Clogher said the sign of peace is a matter for each celebrant and parish community

Staff Reporter

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Staff Reporter

Vaccinate against the flu.

The Dioceses of Clogher, which includes part of south Donegal, has urged people with symptoms of flu to remain at home and not attend Mass.
In a statement, the diocese also said the sign of peace is a matter for each celebrant and parish community.
The plea comes amid growing concern at the spread of flu. Letterkenny University Hospital said today that it is experiencing an increase in the number of patients with flu symptoms.
Last weekend Fr Cathal O Fearrai , parish priest of Kilbarron Parish in Ballyshannon, said the traditional shaking of hands was being "suspended until the risk of infection is significantly reduced".
The Diocese of Clogher said the sign of peace is an optional part of the Mass and a matter for each celebrant and parish community. However, it called on parishes to keep the matter under review.
“It should be noted also that the Peace may be exchanged by means other than shaking hands, such as a simple verbal greeting,” the statement said.
“In the first instance, we urge people to follow the advice given by the public health authorities. Those showing symptoms of flu should remain at home and, if possible, be united to the faith community through Mass on local radio or, where they exist, via webcams.
“Parishes should keep the matter under review and be conscious of the ongoing public health situation. At the very least, parishes are asked to ensure that ministers of the Eucharist wash their hands before and after the distribution of Holy Communion and special arrangements, such as separate chalices, should be in place for coeliacs.
A spokesman for the Dioceses of Raphoe said that there was no dioceses policy on the issue but the public and priests should use a commonsense approach.