Rulenge-Ngara, 21 April, 2020 / 2:29 am (ACI Africa).
A Catholic Bishop in the East African nation of Tanzania has become the first religious leader to suspend the celebration of public Mass in his country where the President has encouraged public worship amid COVID-19 restrictions.
Bishop Severine Niwemugizi of Rulenge-Ngara diocese announced the decision in a letter dated Saturday, April 18 in which he described his decision as “difficult” but based on careful reflection.
“I order the suspension of public Mass and other celebrations that bring many believers to church, and community prayers from April 19 for one month,” Bishop Niwemugizi stated.
He explained that he came to the decision “after reflecting on the tough times and taking lessons from our colleagues in Europe, the United States and our neighboring countries and the steps taken by the Holy Father to give instructions to Catholic Bishops around the world on how to celebrate Mass during this war against the coronavirus.”
Tanzania has recorded at least 171 cases of COVID-19 and seven related deaths.