It’s the season of the disappearing cup.

This past weekend, we didn’t give out the Precious Blood at the parish I visited in Minnesota; I was told they suspend the practice during the winter months.

And now it’s happening again. Via CNS: 

The steps outlined by at least three dioceses are designed to minimize contact among the faithful in order to reduce the possibility of transmission of an influenza virus.

The dioceses of Portland, Maine, and Allentown, Pennsylvania, and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, are among those that have implemented a change in practices during Masses beginning the weekend of Jan. 11-12.

The changes include asking people who are sick to refrain from attending Mass and stay home.

“When individuals are ill, they are not bound by the Sunday Mass obligation. Encouraging people who are at risk to stay away from large church gatherings is an extra step intended to maintain their health,” the Diocese of Portland said in its directive.

The changes primarily involve the reception of holy Communion and greetings during the sign of peace at Mass.

Santa Fe Archbishop John C. Wester, Portland Bishop Robert P. Deeley and Allentown Bishop Alfred A. Schlert have urged — but not required — people to receive Communion in the hand, the norm in the United States under the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.

“This will limit contact with saliva and the potential spread of the influential virus,” the Santa Fe Archdiocese’s directive said.

People who insist on receiving the Eucharist on the tongue have been asked to wait until the end of the distribution of Communion so that possible virus transmission is limited.

The three dioceses also have suspended reception of Communion from the cup.

“In those parishes where the reception of holy Communion is given under both forms, parishes are asked to use this as a catechetical moment to reinforce the church’s constant teaching that the entire body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ is present in the sacred host,” the Diocese of Allentown said in a notice in The A.D. Times, the diocesan newspaper.

In addition, all extraordinary minister of holy Communion are being required to sanitize their hands before and after distribution the Eucharist.

Read on.