With what is surely the Black Plague of the 21st Century bearing down on all our souls, the last place anyone wants to worry about swine flu is church. So some institutions, like the Austin Diocese, are suspending or altering communion.
The story in the Waco Tribune includes a letter issued by the Austin Diocese's Office of the Bishop, stating "Please do not offer the Blood of Christ at Eucharist until more is known about the virus."
Sam Hodges at the Dallas Morning News blogged this morning about how some United Methodist churches in San Antonio are dealing with this tricky issue. The bishop there has referred church leaders to www.echurchdepot.com, where you can buy individually sealed bodies of Christ, which, if Hair Balls is correct, are first referred to in Second Corinthians.
But Houston's Roman Catholics won't have to worry yet about missing out on Christ's Crackers.
"As of right now, we are not implementing such drastic measures," spokeswoman Claudia Deschamps told Hair Balls this morning, adding later, "The archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is carefully evaluating their response." She said that if any changes are made, the Archdiocese will definitely post the information online.
Since Echurchdepot.com gets its communion packages from Florida-based manufacturer The Compak Companies, Hair Balls spoke with one of the company's partners, JoeAnn McClandon, to make sure this stuff is kosher (so to speak).
Hair Balls: How does it work? Is it like each wafer is individually wrapped?
JoeAnn McClandon: Yes. Our communion cups are the juice and the wafer,....you have the juice at the bottom and then there is a layer there that separates that from the unleavened bread. And then the unleavened bread is sealed as well.
HB: So it's sort of like...Lunchables, but for, like, Christ.
JM: That's correct. For communion.
HB: Does that tamper with the holiness at all?
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SHOW ME HOW
JM: No. They are blessed by the minister. At the time that they serve, they usually do the blessing of the communion at the same time.
HB: You don't have to take, like, two of them to make up for...any lack of holiness or anything?
JM: No...no, no.
There you have it: Individually wrapped wafers -- All the Spirit, None of the Virus.