The Power of Christ Compels You …

... to stay home if you're sick

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The Catholic Diocese of Dallas' churches are offering holy water for the soul -- and hand sanitizer for the body.

In light of the swine flu outbreak, church officials have asked that sick parishoners stay home if they're feeling sick.

"It is not a sin to miss your Sunday obligation of attending Mass if you are ill," said Annette Gonzales Taylor, of the diocese.

The diocese posted the suggestion on its Web site.

Church officials are also not going to offer the communal wine during Mass. During the service, parishoners accepting Holy Communion drink from the same cup.

It's not the only thing that will change during the service. The church said things can be done differently during the peace offering, when members greet each other in the pews and shake hands.

"At that moment, you don't have to make bodily contact," Gonzales Taylor said. "You can merely acknowledge the person next to you and offer the sign of peace verbally."

Chris Coxon goes to church with his family at least twice a week, and said the swine flu won't keep him away from worship.

"I would say there is a little bit of faith involved," Coxon said, laughing. "The good Lord will take care of us one way or another."

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