Archdiocese of Oklahoma City implements safeguards against illness during Mass

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Officials say temporary changes are coming to Catholic churches throughout Oklahoma City amid ongoing fears about the flu and the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the Most Rev. Paul Coakley, the Archbishop of Oklahoma City, announced that he is implementing temporary precautions for churches in the area.

Parishioners who are sick or experiencing symptoms of the flu or other illnesses should stay home, officials say.

“Catholics are not bound by the obligation to attend Mass, including on Sunday, if they are ill. Out of charity to others, individuals who are sick with infectious illnesses should not attend Mass or other liturgical events,” Archbishop Coakley said in a post.

Coakley says churches should temporarily discontinue the distribution of the Precious Blood at Mass, and also discourage the holding of hands during Mass. This including shaking hands during the Sign of Peace.

“Where permitted, please strongly consider receiving Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue. Receiving communion on the tongue may expose the hands of priests, deacons or Extraordinary Ministers of Communion to saliva, which can be passed to other parishioners. When Mass is celebrated in the Extraordinary Form, reception of Communion in the hand is not an authorized option and receiving on the tongue will continue,” the post read.

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