EDITOR NOTE: Here’s the State of Emergency Declaration from the Daily Courier, followed by Fr. Bill Holtzingers’ new liturgical norms:
Josephine County declares swine flu emergency
Associated Press – October 23, 2009 6:25 PM ET
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) – Josephine County has declared a state of emergency over the swine flu.
The declaration Friday by county commissioners in Grants Pass cited two people dead, 21 in the hospital, and many more sick with the H1N1 virus.
County health director Belle Shepherd says the declaration will allow the county to get faster results on state lab tests and extra medical personnel if the local hospital gets overwhelmed.
Shepherd says Josephine County has 1 of the highest rates of hospitalization of swine flu cases in the state, and that hospitals in Grants Pass and Medford are near capacity – a condition known as code yellow.
Commissioners in neighboring Jackson County, where Medford is located, will consider making the same declaration at their meeting Wednesday.
Information from: Daily Courier, http://www.thedailycourier.com
As we all know, the flu season is upon us. In the past several days, I have received many inquiries from parishioners who have felt uncomfortable at Mass while the flu spreads in our communities. Clearly, common sense is the best advise anyone can give. Everyone should be conscientious about washing their hands and refraining from touching their eyes and nose. If anyone is not feeling well, they should not attend Mass.
However, because of the H1N1 virus, things are different. On Friday morning, Oct. 23, Josephine County declared a local state of emergency due to the outbreak of H1N1 influenza. Therefore, after consultation with the Archdiocese Office of Worship and others here in our own parish, I have decided to return to the regulations given to us last year by the Archbishop during our last flu outbreak.
This means that I am asking everyone to refrain from holding hands during the Our Father, replacing a shake of hands at he Sign of Peace with a friendly wave to each other, and Communion in the hand with the host only. This means we will suspend the offering of the Precious Blood at Mass. These regulations will be in effect until I determine that it is okay to return to our normal liturgical norms. As was the case last year, some will not agree or like these directives, but I ask your obedience and potential sacrifice of your personal piety for the greater good of the community. Thank you for your understanding.
Fr. William Holtzinger