Diocese of Austin implements changes to mass for flu and virus season


FILE – In this Sept. 27, 2015 file photo, clouds are lit by the rising sun over St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Diocese of Austin, which includes more than 120 Catholic churches in Central Texas, is implementing precautions at mass due to the current flu and virus season “for the common good of the people.”

Reverend Joe Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, issued a temporary change to communion protocol last week. The bishop called for the distribution of communion by hand to hand, rather than hand to tongue. Bishop Vasquez also requested a temporary end to the distribution of consecrated wine.

Additionally, standing basins of holy water, such as stoups at church doors, should also be removed. Holy water that circulates and filters water can remain operable, according to Bishop Vásquez.

Pastors may ask parishioners to forgo holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer and to offer the Sign of Peace without handshaking.

Parishes will be notified when the temporary measures are lifted.

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