Addressing liturgical matters amid concerns of a swine flu outbreak, Bishop of Dallas Kevin J. Farrell has advised his diocese’s pastors to consider suspending the reception of the Holy Eucharist under both species and to take other steps to respond to possible health dangers. The first reported death in the U.S. from swine flu came on Tuesday, when a 23-month-old boy visiting from Mexico died in Houston.
Bishop Farrell’s April 28 letter said awareness has increased about “the potential danger of the possibility of a serious epidemic of ‘swine flu’ for which there is no vaccination.” To assist in preventing the spread of a possible epidemic, he asked that pastors consider modifications to the distribution of the Eucharist and also ensure that Eucharistic Ministers use proper hygiene before distributing the Eucharist at Masses.
He also advised that pastors tell parishioners to be attentive to public health announcements.
The bishop further asked that pastors offer prayers for those afflicted by the illness and for public health officials addressing the possible threat.