Johannesburg, 20 March, 2020 / 4:27 am (ACI Africa).
As South Africa battles to curb the spread of COVID-19, with officials confirming the first cases of local transmission, including four children aged under six years, the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg has announced that little will be done to mark the Holy Week and Easter celebrations, even as Parishes in the Archdiocese run short of financial resources.
“In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, the President of the Republic announced on Sunday, 15th March that gatherings of more than a 100 people are not allowed. This order has a direct bearing on Church celebrations,” reads in part a statement from the Archdiocese of Johannesburg availed to ACI Africa.
“During Holy week, there will be no public celebration of Chrism Mass,” the Tuesday, March 17 statement signed by Archbishop Buti Tlhagale reads and adds, “Instead, Mass of the Oils will be celebrated by the Bishops and members of the Council of Priests. Oils will be available for collection.”
The Statement notes that owing to the difficulty of limiting Church members to 100, Palm Sunday Procession, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil will not be celebrated publicly in the Archdiocese.
In the communique, Archbishop Tlhagale encourages the faithful to join their Small Christian Communities, zonal prayer groups and their families to follow the prayers and readings that are offered in their Missals.