On October 31, 2009, the Archdiocese of Boston issued liturgical directives to assist parish communities in their ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of flu virus. These directives were created in response to concerns raised by pastors and by local health authorities. Current data indicates flu activity has diminished and vaccinations for both H1N1 and seasonal flu strains are readily available. However, as public health officials continue to have concerns about a possible third wave and the potential resurgence of other flu strains through the remainder of the season, we would urge the return of the following liturgical practices throughout the Archdiocese by Palm Sunday, March 28, 2010:
- To return to the practice of distributing Holy Communion under both species;
- To include once again the option of a handshake as a sign of peace.
We are most grateful for the support and understanding of the people of the Archdiocese for the directives, which were a temporary disruption to our common liturgical customs.
Information related to H1N1 and what you can do to prevent the spread of the virus is available at http://usccb.org/liturgy/swineflu.shtml.