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Houses of Worship Take Flu Precautions

With weekend religious services approaching, churches and synagogues are taking steps to avoid the spread of the flu.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington advise parishioners that they don’t have to shake hands during the “sign of peace” portion of the Mass, or to drink from the chalice during Communion.

Ministers who distribute communion by hand should be reminded to practice good hygiene, and may keep a hand sanitizer available in a discreet location for use before and after the distribution of communion, officials said.

They also suggsted that churches dispose of holy water from bowls near entrances, then wash them, dry them, and spray them with disinfectant before refilling them.

Temple Micah, in northwest Washington, advised its community that for Friday evening services the challah will not be passed around and distributed by hand as usual, but will be cut up in advance. “We just thought every little precaution we could take, we should take,” said Rabbi Daniel Zemel.

By Michael E. Ruane  |  May 1, 2009; 1:49 PM ET
Categories:  Prevention  
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