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Churches make changes to mass to prevent spread of flu

Churches make changes to mass to prevent spread of flu

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- Flu concerns are spreading wider than just schools; churches are starting to make changes to their services to help keep their community healthy.

“When we first heard about the flu epidemic and how it was being so widespread, we knew it was time to take precautions,” said Father Anthony Citro at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

The flu hasn’t reached its peak in northern Michigan, but that doesn’t stop people from taking precautionary measures, including churches.

“As long as this epidemic is continuing we are doing a month-to-month basis seeing what we need to do,” said Father Citro.

Father Citro is one of many priests in the area who has received flu season regulations from the Diocese in Gaylord.

Not only has the church stocked up on tissues and hand sanitizer, but they are changing the way they do mass.

“When we serve the body and blood of Christ we no longer serve under the species of the wine, we've stopped drinking from the cup,” said Father Citro. “We offer each other a sign of peace and we shake hands, we are no longer doing that. We still offer a sign of peace but we simply are waving or bowing to each other offering the peace of Christ in that way.”

Across town, Pastor Chris Lane at Central United Methodist Church says they have also altered the way they show peace and take their holy communion.

“You can simply bow to each other, you can do the elbow bump or as Pastor Dale and I demonstrated last week you can do the hip bump to prevent yourself from breathing on each other and people have fun with that," said Father Lane.

Pastor Lane says they also make sure everyone who passes out holy communion uses hand sanitizer and has it available for everyone at mass.

"Church is a social gathering, there's something about being in each other's presence that is really important, so you kind of take that risk. If I have to do the elbow instead of hugging you then that's the price that I will pay,” said Pastor Lane.

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