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Local Catholics to see changes at Mass because of coronavirus

Ron Musselman
York Dispatch
Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Harrisburg Diocese celebrates Mass at the Cathedral Church of St. Patrick in Harrisburg, Pa. Matt Rourke/Associated Press

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg is making a few changes amid growing concerns about coronavirus.

Bishop Ronald Gainer said in a news release Monday he has asked all parishes and institutions to temporarily stop practicing the sign of peace, which involves shaking hands, during services.

He also has asked parishioners not to drink wine from a shared chalice.

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“This decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to the serious nature of the influenza virus this season and due to public concerns regarding the coronavirus,” the diocese said in a news release.

“The diocese often asks parishes to suspend the sign of peace and distribution of the Precious Blood during serious flu seasons.”

Gainer said the temporary suspension will be lifted once medical professionals indicate the high risk has passed. 

— Ron Musselman can be reached at rmusselman@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @ronmusselman8.