Influenza and the Liturgy

Throughout the years, the USCCB Secretariat of Divine Worship has addressed the liturgical implications of the transmission of pathogens on numerous occasions.

Continuously updated information on influenza is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at www.CDC.gov/flu.

The Church's Liturgical Response to Influenza

In previous years, what has the Church done in localities where the outbreak of Influenza is most significant?

In those localities where the outbreak of the disease has been the most significant, bishops have introduced several liturgical adaptations in regard to such practices as the distribution of Holy Communion and the exchange of the Sign of Peace in order to limit the spread of contagion.

What measures should be taken in Roman Catholic liturgies in the United States of America during flu season?

Priests, deacons, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should be especially reminded of the need to practice good hygiene. Ministers of Holy Communion should always wash their hands before Mass begins; a further precaution suggests using an alcohol-based anti-bacterial solution before and after distributing Holy Communion. The faithful should be instructed not to receive from the chalice if they feel ill.

What about further adaptations or the restriction of options at Mass?

The Diocesan Bishop should always be consulted regarding any changes or restriction of options in the celebration of Roman Catholic Liturgy. However, the need for the introduction of widespread liturgical adaptations for the prevention of the transmission of influenza in the dioceses of the United States of America is not evident at this time.

Source: USCCB website