Due to the nationwide flu outbreak, the use of the communion cup has been suspended “until further notice” at masses in the Diocese of San Angelo, which encompasses 37,433 square miles and Taylor, Brown and 27 other counties.
In a letter to area priests, Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer made the announcement on the San Angelo diocese website.
“I make this prudential decision based on the fact of the high increase of the cases of flu at this time of the year,” Pfeifer said. “Also, as a health precaution, I recommend that we not offer the sign of peace with a handshake. It is best that the exchange of peace be given verbally and perhaps with a simple bow.
“Once the danger of transmitting the flu has lessened, I will restore the use of the Communion Cup. Please pass this information on to all of our people.”
Counties in the San Angelo diocese include Andrews, Brown, Callahan, Coke, Coleman, Concho, Crane, Crockett, Ector, Glasscock, Howard, Irion, Kimble, Martin, McCulloch, Menard, Midland, Mitchell, Nolan, Pecos, Reagan, Runnels, Schleicher, Sterling, Sutton, Taylor, Terrell, Tom Green and Upton.
Major cities located in the diocese are Abilene, Big Spring, Brownwood, Fort Stockton, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo, and Sweetwater, according to the diocese website.