Quite a few parishioners were away yesterday, apparently because of fears of porcine 'flu, the collection too was significantly down. I don't know of anyone in the parish who has pig 'flu at the moment. I know that Bishop Hollis has banned Holy Communion under both kinds and reception on the tongue in the Portsmouth diocese. I am not sure that he can legally ban the reception of communion in what is actually the normative way in which Catholics receive Holy Communion. I wonder what happens in those rites where communion is given with a spoon.
Here we are merely expecting people do be sensible, to avoid receiving from the chalice, if they are likely to pass on an infection or vulnerable to receiving one. Our former bishop made both kinds mandatory in this diocese. I suggested this morning that people should not be offended if people refused person to perspon contact at the sign of peace.
As I seem to pick up every infection that is going around my congregation I think I might introduce the traditional method of purification, first with wine and then wine and water. We would have to close down if I got the the 'flu.
The predictions are that the epidemic will get worst. During the 1918/19 influenza out break there were often several funerals a day here, according to the notice book Requiems were offered practically everyday, after a few days they gave up tolling the "passing bell" which seems to have been tolled whenever a parishioner had been killed during the Great War. It seems that that epidemic hit the parish harder than the war.