Area churches join fight against the flu

TULSA - Area churches are joining the fight against the flu.

Several Catholic churches are temporarily changing their communion practices.

While it is common for many parishioners to share the same cup during communion, Church of the Madeline in midtown is temporarily suspending communion in the form of wine.

Father Bryan Brooks said it is an effort to prevent an outbreak of the flu.

Brooks also announced the practice known as the sign of peace, which is normally delivered in the form of a handshake or embrace amongst parishioners, will be temporarily optional.

"If they want to exchange the sign of peace by shaking hands, that's fine. But if they want to refrain from that, that's alright," said Brooks.

Altering tradition a bit to help prevent illness is nothing new.

Several churches temporarily changed communion practices during the Swine Flu outbreak a few years ago.

Parishioner Lezlie Segovia thinks it is a good idea.

"I think it's always a good thing, sure, to give families the option to know that they don't have to participate because of the concern for the flu," said Segovia.

While Segovia herself did not change her behavior during the sign of the peace, she noticed others who did.

"I offered my hand. There were some that extended and some that did not, but it certainly didn't offend me. I completely understand," said Segovia.

Local churches aren't the only ones adjusting.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released its own recommendations about how church leaders can help fight the spread of the flu.

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