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Churches Help Parishioners Avoid Flu

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DALLAS (AP) - With flu widespread in Texas during an earlier-than-normal season, church officials are making provisions to make sure parishioners stay healthy — from skipping the shared communion cup to encouraging a bow, nod or even a fist bump instead of the usual handshake.

As parishioners left a morning Mass on Sunday at St. Rita Catholic Community in Dallas, many stopped at a table in the vestibule to bathe their hands in hand sanitizer. Church officials there are also advising parishioners that they can take communion with only the bread and skip the shared cup.

At King of Glory Lutheran Church in Dallas, Senior Pastor Jon Bustard encouraged young and old in the congregation to bump fists instead of shaking hands. The announcement brought chuckles but many indeed fist bumped.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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