Guidance for Liturgy During Flu Season

The annual cold and flu season always offers us the opportunity to teach the faithful about the use of common sense in sharing the sign of peace and the chalice.

It is important to remind the faithful that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass does not apply to those who are ill, especially those who suffer from contagious disease. It is a sign of consideration for others that those with flu-like symptoms remain at home. For the convenience of those who are homebound, or unable to attend Mass because of illness or infirmity, Mass is broadcast each Sunday morning at 6:00 AM on Channels 8, 20 (Comcast), KTSF 26.
Ministers also become ill; therefore, to avoid celebrating Mass when ill, priests should consider alternatives that may be available to them in such circumstances. A short list of priests who could be called in case of need should be prepared at all parishes.

The following ministers should excuse themselves from serving at Mass if they feel any hint of a cold or flu: Deacons • Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion • Lectors • Musicians • Hospitality ministers • Altar Servers

Within the parishes, we must also use common sense and maintain good habits:

  • Check and fill hand-soap dispensers in all of the restrooms of the church. You might also place a large dispenser of hand sanitizer in your church vestibule.
  • Maintain clean, fresh holy water and holy water fonts.
  • Sanitize with disinfectant wipes places and things in the church that are touched frequently.
  • Follow Archdiocesan policies of Blessing of Non-Communicants by not touching those who are being blessed.

Below are a few resources which may be helpful, including:

  • A suggested announcement for the beginning of mass.
  • Sample bulletin announcements, which you are free to revise in any way you find pastorally helpful.
  • The article titled “Influenza and the Liturgy” from the USCCB Committee on the Liturgy, which you are free to duplicate without revision (attached).

If the issue becomes more serious and we are advised to take action by the authorities, we will of course reassess the matter and inform you of any changes.

If there is any way our office can assist you or your parish, please let us know.