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Flu causes concerns over certain mass rituals like communion

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) – The Archdiocese of Milwaukee says this bad flu season has raised concerns about communion especially when it comes to parishioners drinking out of the same chalice as part of the mass.

The recent flu outbreak has caused some churches to make changes. Catholic churches around the country are putting restrictions on the sign of peace to avoid the spread of the flu through handshakes and hugs. Instead, they’re suggesting a nod and a smile.

In Milwaukee, the Archdiocese has not made mandated changes to mass but instead are leaving it up to priest and parishioners to decide.

“No, the recent flu outbreak has not deterred me from receiving communion at,” Olivia Volkert who attends mass on Marquette’s campus.

We caught up with Volkert after mass on Marquette’s campus who says she didn’t notice any changes at service on Tuesday, but says she’s well aware of the risks people could face.

“I think people should just do whatever they’re most comfortable with,” says Volkert. “As a nursing student, I’m well aware of the flu outbreak and I don’t think it’s a problem to receive communion at all.”

“We recommend that people who are having symptoms like coughing, sneezing, fever, or headache,” says Father Norberto Sandoval. “We recommend that they do not take the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Some church-goers have opted not to drink the consecrated wine.

“With the flu outbreak, it’s a consideration now to be more cautious about taking the wine during mass or not,” says parishioner Kayla Stolz.

But others say they still choose to participate despite the risk.

“It’s an incredible sacrament to receive communion and so in no way do I feel that any possible sickness prevent me from doing so,” says Volkert.

Father Sandoval says his church as well as others have hand sanitizers throughout the building.

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