SAGINAW - Father James W. Bessert, director of the Office of Liturgy, shared the following e-mail with parish leaders today following the U.S. bishop's conferenece's publication of recommendations regarding Swine Flu, Mass:
"As you can well imagine, there are many questions regarding the celebration of the Eucharist and the concern for spreading Influenza/Swine Flu. The USCCB (the Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship) has issued a series of questions and answers. Also, each bishop of the united states was sent a letter from the committee's chairman, Bishop Serratelli, with regard to any implementations that may be made should there be an outbreak in his diocese. As such, we are encouraging parishes to use (1) common sense, and (2) good hygiene. For instance, all ministers of Holy Communion should be instructed to wash their hands before Mass begins (or perhaps the use of an alcohol based anti-bacterial solution before and after the distribtution of Holy Communion). Also, the priest/pastoral administrator may wish to instruct anyone in the assembly who may be ill to not receive from the cup. It was also noted that these were proactive measures and that the need for the introduction of any liturgical adaptions for the prevention of the transmission of influenza/swine flu in the dioceses of the United States is NOT evident at this time. However, should this change, you will be notified immediately. I trust that this is helpful to you and your ministry and it will be good for all of us here in the Diocese of Saginaw to work from this common page and suggested practice."
For more information, contact the Office of Liturgy.