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Widespread Influenza Prompts Maine Catholics to Change Some Traditions

Widespread influenza across Maine has prompted the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland to alter some traditions to keep parishioners healthy.

The diocese announced Thursday that it's suspending the sharing of consecrated wine during communion and holding hands during the Lord's Prayer. The diocese is also discouraging parishioners from shaking hands while greeting each other during the passing of the peace.

Other specific guidance calls for priests to place the host into worshippers' hands instead of on their tongues during communion, and to use hand sanitizer before and after communion.

The Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there's "widespread" flu activity in all 16 counties. Maine had reported 1,187 cases of people who had tested positive for flu through Jan. 13.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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