Harare, 20 March, 2020 / 4:21 am (ACI Africa).
While there has not been a reported case of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe, Catholic leaders in the country that is situated in Southern Africa have, as a precautionary measure, advised children, the sick, the elderly and other vulnerable groups not to attend public Mass on Sunday, in adherence to measures put in place by the government.
In a collective statement dated March 17, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) said it “fully supports the various calls to take serious and drastic measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country, whose urgency cannot be overemphasized.”
“The Sunday obligation to attend Mass for the elderly, children, the sick and the vulnerable is lifted until further notice,” the Bishops said in their collective statement, adding, “Vulnerable faithful should not feel guilty for failing to attend Mass.”
In the statement, the Prelates urge the vulnerable members of the Church community, where possible, to follow live streaming of Mass through various media of social communications that are available to them.
“The current situation offers an opportunity for us to renew our appreciation of the value of Prayer at home and in Private. This has, as we know, a particular relevance in Lent, where we are encouraged ‘when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door and pray to your father in secret. And your father who sees in secret will reward you,’” the Bishops noted, quoting the Gospel of Matthew 6:6.