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Some churches modifying Communion in reaction to flu

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news River Falls, 54022
River Falls Journal
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Don't be surprised if you only get bread at Communion on Sunday.

The Madison Catholic Diocese has told its 134 churches to consider eliminating the use of a common wine chalice for now, because of the concern over Influenza A.

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Patrick Gorman, the director of worship for the diocese, says it's not a mandate - but it is prudent, considering the spread of the swine flu.

From what he's heard, Gorman said many churches apparently skipped the wine last Sunday as well.

In many congregations, bread and wine represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

But Gorman says Catholics believe Christ is fully present even when only bread is eaten at Communion.

Parishioners who are public health workers have made various suggestions to their pastors. And that's why First Lutheran Church in Lodi won't pass the collection plates this Sunday.

Parishioners will be asked to drop off their envelopes at the entry doors instead.

At Grace Baptist Church in Madison the Rev. Dean Howell said he never thought about taking any precautions during the service.

The church did, however, cancel a mission trip to Juarez, Mexico, next month.

He said the economy and Mexican drug violence were already concerns and the flu bug just sealed the decision.

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