Catholic Bishops in Kenya Say COVID-19 Fight Still on amid Lifting of Face Masks

Members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB). Credit: KCCB

Catholic Bishops in Kenya have called on the people of God in the East African country to maintain the fight against COVID-19 even after the country’s government announced the easing of the use of face masks in open places.

On March 11, Kenya’s minister of health announced the easing of COVID-19 restrictions that had been put in place to contain the spread of the virus.

Also eased were restrictions that had been put in place to regulate coverage of sporting activities, quarantine, and isolation of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and conduct in transport operations.

In their Wednesday, April 6 statement, members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), however, urged everyone to be on guard, noting that the virus still roams around.

“We still acknowledge and warn that the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over. We are still exposed and so we should not lower our guards,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya said in their collective statement signed by KCCB Chairman, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde.


They added, “We however thank God that He has heard our prayer that now we operate in a more relaxed atmosphere.”

The Catholic Church leaders in Kenya urged all in the country to continue wearing masks while in places of worship to allow the elderly and the vulnerable to fully participate in church activities.

They advised that the faithful be careful while participating in church activities especially during liturgical celebrations, saying, “We must observe care in terms of physical contact like shaking hands and sharing liturgical materials within any given celebration.”

KCCB members advocated for the adherence to all measures pertaining to hygiene including washing of hands or sanitizing before and after liturgical celebrations, as well as “in all moments where handling of shared items is foreseen.”

“The liturgical celebrations resume to full capacity and all the administration of sacraments go back to normal. We may revert to use of the confessional encouraging Christians and Priests to still use a mask,” they said.

More in Africa

In their April 6 statement, KCCB members give directives for the celebration of Holy Week, saying that all devotions and liturgies to be carried out with prudence.

“All the Holy Week devotions and Liturgies may take place, always with prudence. The washing of the feet can take place with proper guidance,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya said.

They further said that the traditional devotion of the way of the cross on Good Friday may resume again this year and that Easter Vigil Mass can resume with all its Liturgical rites.

On reception of the Holy Eucharist, the Catholic Bishops said, “We should continue to catechize our Christian faithful on the dignity of this most Holy Sacrament. We can revert to the traditional way of Holy Communion on the tongue, always allowing those who wish to receive in the hand.”

The Kenyan Bishops said that prudence must be used in administering the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation especially while anointing, pouring of water and clothing with the white garment.


In their statement, they authorize the use of water fonts at the church doors, which had been banned. They said that the faithful “may now use Holy water in the celebrations, as well as the Holy water fonts after Easter.”

“However, people should be reminded to sanitize before using holy water,” KCCB members said in their collective statement of April 6.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.