Flu outbreak prompts changes in Catholic church services

Published: Jan 30 2013 03:48:00 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 11 2013 06:10:22 PM EST
Catholic church service
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Catholic churches around the region are making some temporary changes in an attempt to keep parishioners flu-free.

The Allentown Diocese announced Friday that the practice of drinking wine from a chalice during holy communion will be suspended, starting next weekend.

Also, the sign of peace during church services is to be done without any physical contact. Priests will encourage parishioners to bow or nod to each other instead of shaking hands.

The directives will remain in effect, officials said, until Bishop John Barres withdraws them.

The Allentown Diocese consists of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill counties.