During flu season, churchgoers in Maine were discouraged from holding hands, a Roman Catholic custom during recitation of the “Our Father.” (Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald)

PORTLAND (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland says it’s OK to shake hands at Mass again, though churchgoers should still be mindful of the presence of influenza.

The diocese, which includes all of Maine, announced protocols to avoid spreading flu in January. Those included suspending sharing of consecrated wine during communion and holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer. The diocese also discouraged parishioners from shaking hands while greeting.

The diocese says Wednesday that Bishop Robert P. Deeley has decided to lift the protocols. However, he also says parishioner should use judgment based on the status of influenza in their local area.

The Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention says influenza’s still widespread in the state. Maine has seen six deaths, 77 hospitalizations and 380 positive tests over the past week.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.