Sunday Services Consider Swine Flu

Fresno, CA Several Valley churches altered some Sunday traditions to protect parishioners from spreading germs that could lead to the flu. Church leaders around the Valley said these changes are only temporarily, despite fears about the flu, every service here today was packed.

Several traditions were absent from churches all around the Valley Sunday.

- Communion.

- Holy water.

- And the sign of peace.

"As a family we need to protect each other and help each other in order to go in the same direction," said Father Guillermo Precido at St. Johns in downtown Fresno.

Precido said that direction is away from N1H1 flu fears and towards living healthy lives. This flu bug was first and foremost on many parishioners' minds.

Felix Medina: "I just had the flu and got over it. It was terrible."

Rosie Garcia Gutierrez: "I have no problem with the swine flu."

Michael Trevino: "We shouldn't let fear rule our lives."

Still the church was not taking any chances. Person after person was surprised to find the holy water removed.

"The consequences, what's going on right now? I mean it's only obvious that people are taking precautionary measures," said Gutierrez.

Churches from other denominations around the Valley also took precaution like St. John's. Parishioners were asked to refrain from shaking hands and spreading any potential germs.Instead, they were asked to bow to one another. Finally communion was received in the hand rather than on the tongue.

"We want to be happy and then we need to be healthy and holy people. So it is about balance in life, integrity of all," said Precido.

Central Valley agriculture expert Manuel Cunha agrees. "We're not trying to oversell the idea of scaring people."

Cunha said the primary concern is making sure everyone has health care. "Making sure our clinics are open longer; make sure our clinics are open weekends. So people can get care, rather than 8-5 maybe 8-10," he said.

Most valley hospital officials tell Action News business is normal this weekend. A few said there has been concern over this flu but they remind people to check with their doctors first.

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