Philly archdiocese takes steps to protect churchgoers amid flu and virus fears

Mark Abrams
March 01, 2020 - 9:42 am

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — With concerns about the flu and the Wuhan coronavirus running high, the Philadelphia archdiocese has already implemented measures to protect churchgoers attending Mass.

Father Dennis Gill, director of the office for divine worship for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said protocols already are in place to try to stop the spread of any disease.

"Ministers of holy communion should wash their hands before Mass begins," he announced. Gill also said it is acceptable to use an alcohol-based anti-bacterial solution in the pew before going up to the altar.

He added it's incumbent upon churchgoers to not take the communion cup if they are ill.

Gill, also the rector at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on the Ben Franklin Parkway, said pastors are being instructed to exercise good sense in worship practices, including suspending the exchange of a peace greeting during Mass that involves a handshake.

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He said the archdiocese is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak situtaion and could adjust its guidelines.

"We want to assure people that as soon as we need to, we will issue further directives," Gill said.