We have been following the developments with the Ebola outbreak in western Africa as well as the appearance of the disease, on a very limited basis as far as we know at this writing, in the United States. Ebola is a deadly disease, with a mortality rate of approximately 70%. Of course, vigilance is needed to prevent the spread of the disease both in Africa and here at home.
What is not being stressed, though, is the fact that well over 30,000 people die annually from influenza or influenza-related illness. That being said, I hope that you will check with your physician or other health¬care provider and get your flu shot in the near future. Not only does it make good sense from a health perspective, it aligns with our solemn duty under the fifth commandment to preserve and protect our life and our health.
Since the cold and flu season is coming very soon, we will take some precautions of our own. Beginning in November and lasting through March, we will not distribute Holy Communion under the species of bread and wine at the weekday morning Masses. Instead, Holy Communion will be distributed under the species of bread only. At weekend Masses, the chalice will be shared only by the priest and the deacon. As for the Sign of Peace, it is not required that one make actual physical contact with others. One can speak a greeting of peace or extend hands outward toward others in greeting without actually touching them. Other means of extending peace are also acceptable. We must be mindful of our own health and that of others. In all cases, use common sense and respect the wishes and boundaries of those around you. Take nothing personally, but see it as precautionary and preventative.
Saturday of this week, November 1, is the Solemnity of All Saints. Mass will be celebrated at 7:30 AM. As it is not a holy day of obligation this year, no other Masses for All Saints are planned. Next Sunday, November 2, is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, or All Souls Day. The Mass texts next weekend will be taken from the Masses for the Dead, replacing the celebration of the Thirty¬first Sunday in Ordinary Time. A reminder is in order about All Souls envelopes. Please get them in with the names of loved ones you wish to remember in prayer. We will collect them and place them on the altar for the entire month of November, remembering those named on them in a special way at every Mass.
Finally, remember to turn your clocks back one hour next Saturday night before retiring or Sunday morning could prove to be interesting. Daylight Savings Time ends and Standard Time begins at 2:00 AM on Sunday morning, November 2.Have a great week!
Rev. Aidan N. Donahue
© 2010 Saint Mary Church, Milford, Connecticut