Churches in Mauritius to Remain Closed During Holy Week amid COVID-19 Restrictions

St. Louis Cathedral of Port Louis Diocese in Mauritius

The leadership of the Catholic Church in Mauritius has directed that churches in the country remain closed during Holy Week in line with restrictions, which the government of the Indian Ocean Island nation put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The directive follows the announcement by the country’s Prime Minister, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth,  that places of worship “can only accommodate a maximum of 5 persons from 1st April” as part of the “progressive containment measures,” officials of Mauritius’ Port Louis Diocese say in their Thursday, March 25 statement.

“The churches will remain closed for the ceremonies of Holy Week. Although it is sad that for the second consecutive year, Holy Week cannot be celebrated in Christian community in the church, it is imperative to protect the population as much as possible,” the officials say in the statement obtained by ACI Africa.

However, the Church officials clarify, “each Parish retains all its freedom to offer Holy Week masses/ceremonies on their social networks at times that suit them.”

“A maximum of 5 people can be present at these Masses to help with registration and animation,” they add, making reference to those to assist in the livestreaming of the Eucharistic celebration and other services during the liturgical celebrations.


On Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the Bishop of Port Louis Diocese, Maurice Cardinal Piat will celebrate Mass in a “closed Cathedral,” which will be broadcast on social media networks and on a local television station, the March 25 statement indicates.

Through a local television station and radio, the people of God in the island nation located some 1,930 kilometers off the coast of mainland Africa will have an opportunity to participate in a Eucharistic celebration on Easter Sunday, the statement published on the website of Port Louis Diocese further indicates.

Mauritius, a country of 1.2 million people, has recorded at least 850 COVID-19 cases, 592 recoveries, and 10 related deaths.

The directive allowing only five people at a time in places of worship comes at a time when a two-week nationwide lockdown set to end on March 25 saw churches closed and public liturgy suspended in the country.

In his March 9 address announcing the nationwide lockdown, the Prime Minister of Mauritius said that the stringent measures were informed by a spike in COVID-19 infections in the country.

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Following the announcement, officials of the Directorate of the Diocesan Service of Catholic Education (SeDEC) of Port Louis Diocese announced, on March 11, the establishment of a communication protocol for cases of COVID 19 in their primary and secondary schools.

The reported increase in infections also saw the country’s Ministry of Education, on March 15, suspend end of term exams for students not in transitory levels, a measure meant to reduce congestion during sitting of national examinations.