Owerri, 18 September, 2022 / 6:13 pm (ACI Africa).
The leadership of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri in Nigeria has directed the resumption of the shaking of hands during liturgical celebrations following a decline in reported cases of COVID-19 in the West African nation.
In a Saturday, September 17 statement, the Chancellor of the Nigerian Archdiocese refers to the directive of the Local Ordinary, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, adding that the decision is based on the deliberations of the members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) during their 2022 second Plenary Assembly.
In the statement, Fr. Cosmas Uzoigwe says that Archbishop Ugorji “has directed that the traditional shaking of hands (Kiss of Peace) during Eucharistic celebration and other events in the liturgical celebrations of the Church should resume and come back to life.”
Fr. Uzoigwe adds, “Archbishop Ugorji recalls that the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to pronounce stringent guidelines which affected our liturgical worship, and one of such was that which restrained all from shaking hands during Mass.”
“The resolution to commence the liturgical gesture of shaking of hands came following the proceedings of the recently concluded Second Plenary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria held at Orlu,” the Nigerian Catholic Priest says.