In light of the latest HSE Swine Flu advice, the diocese is recommending a number of practical precautionary measures. Changes to liturgical practice are of a temporary nature.


Diocesan Guidelines

November 2009

Parishes should take the following actions

  • Advise the clergy and congregation not to attend if they are ill
  • Make sure that the clergy and congregation have information about the symptoms of flu and how to prevent it by displaying posters prominently in the church
  • Provide bins for disposal of tissues at church gatherings
  • Ensure all hard surfaces that are frequently touched, such as door handles, hand rails, taps, are cleaned regularly with a household detergent
  • Keep hand-washing facilities, including soap and disposable towels, well maintained,
  • Supply tissues and hand-washing gel at church services/gatherings.

Sign of Peace options

1. Suspend the practice of the Sign of Peace; OR

2. Continue with the option of a bow for those who dont wish to make hand contact

Receiving Holy Communion

In this present stage of HINI influenza spread, the HSE advises that

  • receiving Holy Communion on the tongue should be discouraged
  • that the chalice should not be shared.

In light of the above, the diocese recommends

  • the practice of intinction for concelebrants;
  • the practice of reception from separate chalice or chalices for ‘coeliacs’.

Tending to the sick – HSE advice

Requests for clergy to visit those suffering from influenza should be made first by phone. Appropriate arrangements could then be made in the light of discussion. A face mask should be worn by the visitor when entering the room of a sick person or if coming into close contact with a sick person. The visitor should clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol hand gel immediately after the visit. Only carry essential items from visit to visit, e.g. mobile phone, pens, and clean such objects after the visit’. (HSE Guidance Sept 2009)

This guidance also applies to extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and to all chaplains who regularly visit the sick.

Priests and Ministers of the Eucharist should carry out hand washing or use alcohol gels to sanitise their hands before and after the distribution of Holy Communion.