Covid-19: Catholic, Anglican Bishops new issue directives on worship, gatherings

March 23, 2020
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From Chuks Collins, Awka

The Catholic Church leadership in Anambra state has issued
temporal precautionary measures on its order of Liturgical worship and coming
together for various spiritual and social gatherings.

The Church in a directive titled “Precautions For
Coronavirus: Attention to our Catholic Faithfuls in our Area, Anambra
state”, issued a fifteen point directive noting that following the
increasing threat to heath and life by the Coronavirus pandemic, “…we
hereby give the following directives for Catholics in Anambra State as concerns
our Liturgical worship and coming together for various spiritual and social
gatherings.

*From now till further notice, we should exchange the kiss
of peace by nodding to your neighbour or looking at his/ her direction, no body
contact, no shaking of hands, no embracing.

*From now on till the danger is averted, Holy communion will
no longer be administered in the tongue but should be given at the hands.

*There should be no more provision of holy water at the
entrance of the Churches and other ecclesiastical institutions.

*Offertory collections should be made by Church Prefects
going around and not by the congregation filing out to dance and go to the
Altar.

*Temporary suspension of big gatherings, like overnight
crusades, rallies and such events that attract big crowds and keep them close
to each other for a long time.

*Parishes that can afford it can increase the number of Holy
Masses so as to reduce the size of the congregation attending.

*Long sermons and long announcements are discouraged and
should be avoided.

*Long receptions after weddings should be curtailed,
discouraged and avoided.

*Long dancing at ceremonies like funerals should be
curtailed and avoided.

*People should avoid crowded places and should keep
respectful distance from anybody they meet on the road.

*People should buy sanitizers, put them in their pockets or
handbags and use them regularly as the need arises.

*Priests are advised not to prolong the Holy Mass or any
Liturgical celebration without making the liturgy mechanical.

*For anointing of the sick and at Baptism, Priests are
advised to put on hand gloves.

*Church Prefects are advised to put on hand gloves while
collecting the offertory and rendering other services.

*People are strongly urged to say the Rosary daily in their
homes calling on God to save the World from coronavirus and similar hazard.

May God bless Our Nation with good Health.

Earlier the presiding Archbishop of the Niger Province who
is also the Bishop of Awka, Anglican Communion, His Grace Dr Alexander Ibezim
reeled out some temporal new orders of worship in reaction to the pandemic.

These include a new order of sharing of the communion,
suspension of handshake, embrace or any form of contact among the faithful.

Parishioners expressed hope that these new directives would
be rested for the regular pattern once the virus scourge stops soon.

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