Nashville Church Suspends Ritual To Fight Flu

NASHVILLE, Tenn - The Cathedral of the Incarnation has suspended one mass ritual in an effort to keep the flu under control. The church chose not to distribute the Precious Blood during this weekend's services, which were marked by the installation of a new Bishop.

"Whenever there's a large group of people from infancy to quite elderly, we don't want the church to be the place where they contract the flu," said Fr. Ed Steiner. "So out of an abundance of caution we're just taking care of our people."

Steiner also encouraged parishioners to exchange fist bumps instead of handshakes during the Sign of Peace. He said the changes came after experts at Vanderbilt warned him about the dangers of this flu season.

"I was called to the Vanderbilt emergency room and was told to enter through a different door because if I go into the ER lobby without the flu, I might come out with the flu," Steiner said.

The change came on a weekend of celebration for the church. More than 3,000 people watched as Rev. Mark Spalding was ordained and installed as the 12th bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville on Saturday.

Sunday, Spalding took possession of his cathedral for the first time.

"Bishop Spalding is just so enthusiastic. Very charismatic. It really felt like he was lifting us up and motivating us to do what he says and that is to preach Christ," Steiner said. "He approaches the church and the gospel in a way that's all about service. He'll bring a whole new feel and perspective."

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