In light of the heightened cases of influenza being reported in our five-county area and the January 2 change in the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Influenza Status from "sporadic" to "widespread," Diocese of Allentown Bishop Alfred Schlert has directed that the Exchange of the Sign of Peace and the Reception of Holy Communion from the Chalice be suspended in the 84 parishes of the Diocese.
This suspension will begin with the Vigil and Sunday Masses the weekend of January 12-13, and will be in effect until the incidence of influenza subsides in our region.
Under these directives, reception of Holy Communion will only be of consecrated hosts, which Catholics believe is the body of Christ. The practice of drinking from a chalice of consecrated wine, which Catholics believe is the Blood of Christ, is suspended. Catholics believe that in the Sacred Host is contained the entire Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. Therefore, receiving from the chalice is always optional