With H1N1 hitting Alberta hard, Catholic churches across the province are making changes to masses and prayer services to keep the flu from spreading among their flock.

“People are distracted and concerned when they see someone at mass who appears to be sick, wondering ‘should I shake their hands or not?’” said Lorraine Turchansky, spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton, who spoke with Edmonton AM Tuesday morning.

Turchansky said 126 Catholic parishes across central and northern Alberta are taking precautions, including draining the fonts of holy water, suspending the practice of taking wine during communion from a shared cup, and no longer shaking hands during the sign of peace.

And for the seriously contagious? Pray at home.

“One of the other things we’re encouraging people to do is to stay home from Sunday mass if you’re sick, especially if you have a cough or fever or something,” Turchansky said.  

Check out the full interview