I’m sure it’s been discussed here many times, but was wondering in these times of flu exposure which could be very serious this season worldwide. There are the issues of the hands as to accepting Communion and also offering each other the sign of peace (shaking hands which most people do) Would offering a fist pump suffice or be deemed rude or inappropriate? I guess it depends on the culture within your Parish as to how you greet. I think the less touching one another would be for the better.
Today we published a missive from our Bishop suggesting that we bow to each other instead of shaking hands at the Sign of Peace. It will take a bit of getting used to but in the long run it may well displace the shaking of hands permanently.
A fist pump might be a little too street for some people but a wave is established and acceptable in the parishes I’ve attended.
I like the idea of a smile and nodding of the head vs the handshake or touching. I guess the fist pump at eye level like a high five, baseball team stuff, would scare the lil ole lady within arm’s reach. It would not seem peaceful to her I suppose. I like your Bishop’s suggestion in these times we should be careful about our hands, and touching and just plain stay away from services if you have a cold.
Since the H1N1 virus is BREATHED in, it’s not too likely that it can be transferred by mere touch.
There would have to be another couple of steps, first.
Very simply, if the Sign of Peace worries you, don’t do it, or wear gloves or a biohazard suit or whatever floats your boat.
While swine flu appears to be more serious than ordinary flu, it doesn’t appear, based on what information I’ve come across about it, to be more easily transmitted than any other type.
Ordinary precautions should suffice, assuming your immune system is functioning normally, and those who care about their health both know and practice those already.
Avoiding handshaking is probably not necessary, as long as you avoid touching eyes or nose afterwards until such time as you can wash your hands. Opt for communion on the tongue if you don’t receive that way already, if it eases your mind to do so.
Well, probably a good idea as what my local super markets do, is have those wipes as you go in to be able to wash your hands and perhaps the area you’d sit in the pew where you’d place your hands. Does your Church offer this yet?
No, I’m not being silly as to going to rubber gloves or masks about it, but I am as I am in the super markets and thus being offered the wipes for the basket or cart and my hands and being more careful. If you watch the super market crowd, most will not be bothered about the wipes or be too lazy to start a new container or repair one with wipes to be fed.
Out here in the Middle East (or, should I say, the United Arab Emirates, as that’s the only middle eastern country where I have attended Mass) the Sign of Peace is to place your palms together and bow to the person you’re greeting. It did take me some getting used to, but it’s actually a much “wider” greeting than a handshake. I think of the gymnastics our large family engages in at “home” just to share the Sign of Peace with each other, and we end up bowing to some anyway, yet here I can greet 4 or 5 people at a time with the “bow”.
As far as touching and spreading of germs, in our family we all now carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer which we use frequently, not just in church and supermarkets, but also when eating out and in any other situation where it seems sensible.
Perhaps H1N1 will make people sensible again about staying away from others when they themselves are ill and remind us all to take reasonable precautions to protect ourselves from infection - of all kinds.
At Mass yesterday our Pastor informed us that the local health authorities have been in contact with the diocese and the Bishop has directed that there be no offering of the communion cup and no exchange of the Sign of Peace for the next two months unless further guidance is provided. There still is, of course, the exchange of peace between Priest and those gathered at Mass, which involves no touch, just not between each other.
Honestly, I hardly missed it and I’m one who will reach two pews forward and back if you let me. I missed the cup more than the SOP.
The Bishop in our diocese (San Jose, CA) has also asked that people refrain from shaking hands and handholding and other touching during sign of peace. Also, communion in the hand only (not on the tongue) and no cup.
The directive or strong suggestion as some have indicated as to communion and SOP greeting seems very much in order or it may be deemed something peculiar to the one next to you when you don’t reach out and touch them or you may feel like you’re being smug… It’s good that this is being considered by many parishes or disocese’ to be siding with caution as we get into flu season in earnest.
After last weekend’s missive from the Bishop and last week’s pastoral care meeting with a talk about H1N1 with the hospital staff, this weekend the Pastor decided to not offer Communion from the Chalice, no EMHCs, no hand shaking at the Sign of Peace and preferably Communion in the hand only. He’s considering what to do about the 4 or 5 who receive on the tongue if they want to keep doing so – he may ask them to receive last so that the chances of cross-contamination are lessened.
purell…that’s all I’m sayin’.
Oh, I forgot to mention that we do not receive Communion from the Chalice ever here. But the norm is to receive on the tongue which does concern me from a health aspect, only a very few of us recieve in the hand, so I’ll have to take my chances there.