The Archdiocese of Boston is encouraging parishioners with colds or flu symptoms to "love thy neighbor" by forgoing long-standing Christmas Mass traditions.
The Boston Herald reports Church officials sent out a memo suggesting those who are ill refrain from shaking hands in the sign of peace and sipping from a communal cup.
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The memo recommends "a nod of the head or a verbal exchange of peace would be gracious and fitting" for those who do not wish to shake hands.
"We made suggestions that anyone who had symptoms or who would be vulnerable to contagion refrain,'' the Rev. Christopher Coyne, Boston archdiocese spokesman, told the paper yesterday.
Boston Roman Catholic leaders took their cue from several Western states that recently suspended parts of the Mass deemed risky for fueling one of the worst flu outbreaks in years.