US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Don't go to church...

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If you're sick.

I've been wondering if swine flu worries were going to affect church in some way, and it seems it has. Across the country bishops are warning that if you're sick, you shouldn't go to Mass, and you definitely shouldn't receive from the cup. Parishes in Austin, Texas aren't offering the cup at all for the time being, CNS reports.

Other recommendations include bowing instead shaking hands at the sign of peace if you're feeling ill. Eucharistic ministers should also make sure their hands are clean, but I hope they do this anyway!

I've been reminded in the past few days of a book called Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. It's the story of a plague town in England (historical fiction) that quarantined itself off to prevent the spread of the plague to nearby town, but it's really a story about faith in the face of disaster. I highly recommend it.

Over the year, the town starts holding Sunday services in outdoors, standing at a distance from each other, and you see the faith of various characters break, mature, or turn to superstition.

Thank God we no longer see disease as punishment from God or the work of the devil. While taking important precautions to remain healthy, I think it will be important that we don't become too scared of each other and continue to treat others with love and care.

Have you taken any precautions because of the swine flu? Will you change your Mass habits?