Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Flu season has Dallas-area churches, others shaking off handshakes

From Dallas-

Fear of the flu has two of North Texas’ largest churches rethinking their traditional hugs and handshakes.

Love your brother, they advise, just don’t touch him.

The Catholic and Episcopal dioceses of Dallas sent guidelines to clergy late last week designed to slow the spread of sickness through their congregations.

“This is just a matter of reminding people to use their common sense,” said Dr. Patricia Hughes, director of the office of worship for the 1.5 million-member Dallas Catholic Diocese.
“We’re saying, ‘Be gentle with yourself and be sensible and don’t ever feel compelled to do one thing or another.’”

During a ritual called the “Sign of Peace” — in which parishioners clasp hands and occasionally exchange kisses on the cheek — church leaders suggest less physical contact would be better.
“Perhaps people should be a little more discreet until the flu epidemic is over,” said Hughes. “A smile, head bow and eye contact will generally work for wishing someone peace.”
Bishop James M. Stanton, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, took the precautions a step further.

More here-

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