New changes within the Lake Charles Diocese

By Charlie Bartlett - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Lake Charles Diocese put the measures into effect last week, but most church goers found about it at this weekend's mass services.

Bishop Glen John provost mandated a number of precautionary measures.  The cup is reserved for priests and deacons while the sign of peace is recognized by a nod.

"It's one of many things that people are doing so it makes sense," said Ben Drone.

"Prevention is number one and that's it. I respect the bishop, I think he's doing a great job by protecting the community," said Melanie Fontenot.

Eight people in Louisiana have died from Swine Flu.  The Lake Charles Diocese was concerned about the spread of the virus.  The decision to take these measures was made after careful consultation with medical professionals, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Center for Disease Control.

"There's no doubt in my mind with him being able to look out for every single person as the lord does try to take care of everybody. It definitely makes me feel very good to be a catholic," said Bryen Berrett.

Though the traditions have somewhat changed, parishioners say it's been a learning process.

"When he said peace be with you, I go to shake a hand, I pull back and everybody around me is kind of laughing. I turn to the lady next to me and say this is weird and strange, but I know it's for the right reason," said Fontenot.

"It's not common for Christians not to give a hug or a handshake. It's a real stepping stone to not just offer some comfort while in church," said Berrett.

Until further notice, mass services will follow the bishop's instructions.  Members of the church are willing to wait.

"It's temporary till we get back to a normal non-contagious situation," said Drone.

"I'd rather not give a handshake and see everybody live than give a handshake and someone gets sick," said Fontenot.

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