(WIVB)–On the second Sunday of lent, you’ll notice a few changes at Saint Joseph University Parish in Buffalo. For example, the holy water fountains are now empty.
Church leaders say they’re taking every precaution, much like during a bad flu season, because of the coronavirus and how quickly it’s spreading in areas across the country.
Father Jacob Ledwon, a pastor at St. Joseph University Church says they’ve had people receiving communion in their hands instead of their tongue.
“Like at the sign of peace, rather than hug or shake hands, we ask people to smile, extend a kind word, or an elbow bump or something like that.”
Ledwon says not every church is doing this, but he looked at the guidelines from the Buffalo Diocese and the Diocese of Boston. He says he’s also listened to the advice of both nurses and doctors in his parish.
“We put an article in our bulletin this week that’s a little bit more detailed on what to do you know washing your hands avoiding crowds,” said Ann Marie Macisaac, parish nurse at St. Joseph University Church.
Macisaac says she’s received a lot of questions from people such as how long the coronavirus may be around, questions she says no one has the answer to right now.
But she says that’s why education is key, and that’s important that people don’t panic.
“It’s more of a way of allaying any of their fears. Comparing the coronavirus to the regular influenza is something else that’s helpful because we as a society don’t think too much about the flu, but probably that’s as big of a problem as the coronavirus is right now.”
Father Ledwon says there’s no telling how long he will keep these measures in place but he says for now they’re staying vigilant.