Brooklyn Diocese suspends serving communion wine during flu season

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DOWNTOWN, BROOKLYN — The vicious flu season is changing how New Yorkers travel, work and now pray.

“This is all about making sure we are playing our part in keeping people safe and in keeping people healthy," said Fr. Peter Purpura, a rector at St. James Cathedral Basilica.

The Diocese of Brooklyn has instructed its nearly 200 parishes to suspend serving wine during communion.

Churchgoers who feel sick are being discouraged from shaking hands during the exchange of peace.

“The challenge with distributing Holy Communion with wine is you actually have to use a shared chalice. So that could be a moment where people could contract illness," said Purpura.

He said that during the exchange of peace, “it's OK ... to give a wave or just a smile.”

The Diocese of Brooklyn hopes to return to their usual practices by Easter.