Cold and Flu Season and Mass

As the title implies, Cold Season is coming, if not already here.

If you’re sick, please don’'t come to Mass and share your joy with everyone else. You’re excused. Really.

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

Nobody likes to hear the person behind them coughing and sneezing and blowing snot. And nobody wants to give the Sign of Peace to that person, either. Besides infecting others, what if you feel dizzy and fall over? What if you’re nauseous immediately after Communion while the pieces of the Eucharist are still recognizable?

Please, stay home if you’re feeling sick. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and don’t infect them.

I find it rather presumptuous on your part to tell others to forgo receiving the Body and Blood of Christ because you don’t want to get the sniffles.

I find it EXTREMELY presumptuous on YOUR part to tell people that it’s perfectly fine to purposely make other people sick. Your “sniffles” may be someone else’s “pneumonia.”


I totally get it, and everyone should use their OWN good judgement regarding their own illness. I would be disappointed if someone asked me to leave or even insinuated I shouldn’t be there if I’m sniffling, coughing with ALLERGIES! Not flu or cold at all and certainly not contagious.

How do you even know it’s them who got you sick? Colds and flus can be picked up anywhere. If you go out in public and touch a door handle that was touched by someone infected, guess what? You picked up a virus. Unless someone is uber sick and can’t control their symptoms, then yes stay home. If your symptoms are under control, refrain from receiving from the cup, and when it comes to the sign of peace, and you’ve coughed into your hand (FYI: I cough and sneeze into my elbow to avoid this) make a non-contact sign of peace. Also, remember to practice good hand washing. This really isn’t difficult. My aunt who was sick with terminal cancer, despite being extremely susceptible to illness because she had just had a chemo treatment didn’t cower away from me when I was sick and my parents felt it was best if I quarantine myself. She just said to them, “well, I guess we’ll just have to be careful and wash our hands.” Let’s not get all paranoid.

I think during this season, it would be wisest to just forgo the sign of peace so no one gets sick. After all, the sign of peace is completely optional.


I suffer from a chronic cough, sometimes severe, due to acid reflux. One cannot assume that someone is contagious just because they are coughing and sneezing.

Having said that, I’m staying home from church this morning because one of my children and I are sick. I’m not sure how much good it will do, because I saw most of my fellow parishioners yesterday at a parish event, before it became obvious that I was sick. Often, we are most contagious before we start to show symptoms.

When I have a cold (Which if I take Vitamin C and minimize sugar, I rarely get a huge several days long one anymore) I usually sit during the sign of peace OR I have hand sanitizer so I am not passing on germs. Sometimes my parish doesn’t have the Sign of Peace during Cold and Flu Season…which I think is fine (its at the priest’s discretion of course).

Go to the Latin Mass - no sign of peace. Problem solved. :smiley:

If you do have the flu, or the cold, I agree that you should use your own judgement regarding going or not, but in most cases I think you should go to Mass. For the SoP, you can just whisper “I’m sick” or something or other.

Seven years ago I had a premature infant who came home from the NICU on November 3rd. We were advised that because his lungs were immature and his immune system was weaker due to his prematurity, that we should avoid taking him to public places unnecessarily until flu season was over in April. This meant no grocery store, no family parties, no shopping malls, no parks, no restaurants, no Church.

We were also advised to not go out unnecessarily ourselves because of what we could bring home to our tiny boy. So, we often had others run our errands and declined almost all invitations out so that we could stay as healthy as possible. My husband’s work colleagues were all informed to stay home if they even thought they MIGHT be getting sick and my husband basically holed up in his office until the spring to avoid others as much as possible.

Even a simple cold can be life-threatening to newborns, the elderly and the immune compromised. What is just an annoying sniffle to you can literally mean DEATH or weeks of misery in the hospital to someone else, or someone else’s child.

If I could have counted on people never to go out when they were ill, maybe my husband and I would not have had to miss 6 months of Mass, and the graces associated with it while we were struggling after a traumatic birth and a two-month horrific battle in the NICU. I know we had a valid reason to avoid church, but it’s sad that people are so self-centered that they’d rather risk the health and lives of others than stay home from Mass for one or two weeks!

If you think that going to Mass when you have a cold is okay, as long as you aren’t hacking in someone’s ear, you are so wrong. Stay home! You have a valid excuse and it is not worth potentially killing someone over! If you seriously cannot go one or two weeks without the Eucharist, call the church and have a healthy lay minister bring the sacrament to your home!

Sheesh. This makes me so upset. Can’t trust anyone to be responsible anymore!

He didn’t say a word about having allergies. Of course it isn’t a problem coming to Mass with allergies.

I agree. Just last week, someone at Mass gave me a hug. Later they told me how sick they were; throwing up, fever and the like. :rolleyes:

If you are sick, please keep it to yourself. If you need to sneeze, use a tissue or your sleeve. Don’t sneeze on me. If you are coughing, cover your mouth. Don’t cough on me. And if you need to throw up, do it somewhere else.

Before the “its all about me” generation, sick people stayed home. Now, those of us that are healthy have to walk around just trying to protect ourselves, and somehow we are the ones being selfish. Or wanting to dictate what others do. :rolleyes:

Friend, we don’t have the right to tell others not to come to Mass. Yes, illness excuses someone from their obligation, but if they feel well enough to be able to physically get there, and if they want to, that is their right, too.

Just don’t touch them. A kind, fraternal nod is perfectly sufficient.

These are fair points, but the common cold doesn’t induce nausea or dizziness. If someone merely has a cold, it’s unjust of us to expect them to stay away from Mass.

I would have others make me feel welcome at Mass even if I’m sick. So, I will do unto others as I would have them do unto me by defending the right of the sick to assist at Mass, if they are able and desiring to do so.

No one is coming to Mass “to purposely make other people sick.” We’re talking about sick people coming to Mass despite the fact that they have a cold. That is not in any way equivalent to, reducible to, or comparable to purposefully infecting others.

It’s not hard to be sanitary at Mass. If someone has a cold, (s)he’s protecting you just fine by not touching the hymnals or missals, and by not shaking hands during the Sign of Peace.

This thread reminds me of when I worked in the fast food industry. We weren’t permitted to call in sick unless you physically were incapable of working. If you had a cold, they put you to work in the back on food prep so that the customers couldn’t see you sick and coughing.

If you go to Mass (where people are generally crowded together, a Eucharistic minister/priest is going to either come in contact with your hands or mouth, and you drink from the Cup shared with everyone else) with a contagious illness, then yes, you are purposely exposing other people to your illness. Just because you don’t see it that way, doesn’t make it less of a fact.

We’re talking about sick people coming to Mass despite the fact that they have a cold. That is not in any way equivalent to, reducible to, or comparable to purposefully infecting others.

Colds aren’t infectious? Since when? I work in medical research and haven’t heard this wonderful news yet! :rolleyes:

If I were to catch your “cold,” I would be sick with pneumonia for 3 months.

This is one of the reasons I stopped going to Mass. Arrogant, entitled people who think their “right” to receive the Eucharist–even after the Church has SAID it’s perfectly fine not to, if you’re sick–is more important than the health of other people. Completely selfish. You have a valid excuse to miss Mass, but I don’t have a choice to avoid your germs if you do show up.

We go through the same thing every year at work. Now that the season is upon us, emails are starting to fly back and forth telling us to STAY HOME if we’re sick, to avoid infecting others. That’s common sense, common courtesy, and common decency.

Yes, as another poster pointed out, you can’t avoid germs 100% unless you quarantine yourself forever, and you will probably pick up a bug at the grocery, or your kids bring something home from school, etc. But what kind of moronic logic says “well, since you might get sick anyway, it might as well be from me!”


Gross! One more reason not to eat fast food.

My grandparents were pre-Vatican II Catholics and super devout, usually went to daily Mass, prayed a daily rosary, grandma wore mantillas until she died in 1999, grandpa was an usher for decades. Their lives revolved around their faith and their parish. Mass was simply NOT missed for any old reason. But if one of them had a cold or other illness? No way would they have put others at risk. It’s simply rude, self-centered and thoughtless. Does anyone really think God wants them to come to Mass and potentially infect others?

That is ridiculous to say the problem is solved by going to the Latin Mass or avoiding the SOP. I hope you are joking. Any time you get people in close quarters, you have a situation where viruses and bacteria can spread. Yes, washing hands is highly recommended, but viruses and bacteria can be airborne and cause illness that way, just by breathing them in. Why do you think people wear masks? If one is sick with a cold or flu and is symptomatic, stay home. Don’t put other people at risk. Don’t let your piety make other people sick.

These little buggers can travel farther than we think.

I find people even amongst Catholics have the ugly habic of placing everyone who comes down with the common-cold in the same category as if pigeon-holing everyone in the same situational boat. Every person handles the common flu differently. Some being far more vulnerably than others whether other medical ailments like diabetes, asthma and so many other diseased ailments make the common cold worse.

It would be advantage to all of us if we avoided judgement. Experts say 4,500 deaths in the U.S. alone are attributed to the common-cold on an annual basis.

CCC: 2181 doesn’t spell out how serious a sickness is. Common sense should dictate the norm of absense from attending Mass if one has more than a mere sniffle.
I don’t find it very charitable if someone is coughing and hacking continuously at Mass.
If your sick stay home.


2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

well,ive been suffering from laryngitis for few days now,due to post nasal drip.before i left for Mass,i asked God not to let me cough scandalously,as i dont want to walk out from the service just beacuse of it.also, i decided to sit on the back pew for easy acesss to get ingress and egress .During the service i asked again the Lord not to let me cough horribly.It did work and thanked Him for it!I also pray for worshippers that are in similar situation.

Again, I have suffered from coughing and hacking continuously for the better part of 12 years now. Although I am sick, in that I suffer from an illness, I am not going to permanently cease attending Divine Liturgy because somebody, in their own lack of charity, assumes the worst about me.

I know, I’m a bit sensitive on this issue. I’m just tired of getting dirty looks and being avoided.

Then what is your point? It sounds like you have made your decision, namely, to sit back in judgment upon others. A valid excuse is not an order to stay away. Furthermore, illness is listed in the context of a *serious *reason. The Church does not require people to stay away. I promise you no lay person should be making up their own rules and trying to boss and bully others into staying away for the Eucharist.

People with contagious disease can use their own judgment on the matter. People with immune issues can likewise take precautions.

As no one is coughing on purpose, I do not think charity is an issue. What is not charitable is to go beyond Church teaching to discourage people from attending Mass. If the sound is distracting, then it is up to the faithful to be tolerant of the weaknesses of others. It is kind of what Christians are supposed to be know for.

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