Beginning at masses this coming weekend (March 13-14), churches in the Diocese of Allentown will lift changes in liturgical practices that had been instituted last October to protect the health of others during the flu season.

At masses this weekend, Catholics will agiain be permitted to drink from a chalice of consecrated wine, which Catholics believe is the blood of Christ, during Holy Communion. The practice of shaking hands during the part of the Mass known as the Sign of Peace will again be permitted.

Information available from the Centers for Disease Control is that the 2009 H1N1 influenza has significantly dissipated throughout the country and especially in our region. Individuals who are experiencing illness and flu-like symptoms should still exercise prudence when in group settings.

The liturgical changes were instituted the weekened of Oct. 18, 2009, at the height of the flu season. They were described then as temporary, to remain in effect until the Most Rev. John O. Barres, Bishop of Allentown, withdrew them as he now directed.