The Star-Herald

Diocese lifts flu protocols

PORTLAND, Maine — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has reviewed the flu prevention protocols for Maine parishes that were put in place in late January.

“Our research indicates that in most of the state, the incidence of influenza has considerably lessened. In some corners of the state, however, it continues to be a concern,” said Dave Guthro, diocese communications director, in a March 21 press release.

“As such, Bishop Robert P. Deeley has decided to lift the protocols. He has, however, informed pastors at parishes throughout the diocese, which covers the entire state of Maine, to use their best judgment in deciding if the protocols should continue because of the situation in their local area,” Guthro said.

Where the influenza protocols will be relaxed, the bishop did advise that if individuals have a fever, sore throat, cough or flulike symptoms, they should stay at home and not attend Mass until fully recovered. When individuals are ill, they are not bound by the Sunday Mass obligation.

With the protocols lifted, the distribution of the shared consecrated wine for the faithful is reinstated and parishioners may shake hands during the Sign of Peace.

All ministers of holy Communion will continue to sanitize their hands before and after distributing holy Communion, a practice that was in place prior to the protocols.  

For more information, contact Guthro at (207) 321-7810 or

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