, 30 April, 2020 / 5:48 AM
The suspension on the celebration of Public Mass has been lifted for Sundays in Cameroon’s Kumbo diocese, the Bishop has announced.
“I hereby, re-Institute the Public Celebration of Holy Mass in our Parishes only on Sundays in the Diocese of Kumbo,” Bishop George Nkuo told the Priests in his diocese in a letter dated Tuesday, April 28.
Other dioceses in the central African nation are yet to lift the suspension, which was adopted as one of the measures to curb the possible spread of COVID-19 when people gather for worship.
“We must commit ourselves to celebrate only on Sundays and not do anything that would endanger people's health,” Bishop Nkuo said.
He said that he was lifting the suspension for Sundays with the expectation that the Priests and other Church leaders in his diocese “will do everything to continue to sensitize our people to implement strictly all the guidelines, and also to take care of the spiritual needs of our Christians.”
According to worldometers, Cameroon has recorded 1,806 cases of COVID-19, 61 related deaths and 934 recoveries.
Beginning Sunday, May 3, the congregation will be limited to only 50 people, Bishop Nkuo directed while urging the Clergy to ensure that all health precautions issued by the government are adhered to.
“Priests can multiply the number of Sunday Masses making sure that the health of the parishioners is protected by following the Social Distancing Guidelines of sitting at least one meter apart,” the 67-year-old Prelate advised.
“All the other specific guidelines must be observed without putting people's lives at risk,” he said adding, “The danger is still very real and its presence is not far from Kumbo so we cannot take the Health Measures and guidelines lightly.”
Since Easter Sunday, public Masses have not been celebrated in the diocese, located in the northwest of Cameroon.
The suspension “was an important measure to stop the spread of this coronavirus and to warn everyone to take seriously the call to fight with all our might the spread of this virus,” the Bishop said.
In a recent interview with ACI Africa, Bishop Nkuo noted that it had become difficult to sustain the livelihood of Priests and those dependent on the Church due to the suspension of public Mass.
“Our church is not a rich Church. Thus, the livelihood of Priests has become difficult given that no Mass means no alms. This means that even catechists and other Church personnel dependent on this means of survival have been greatly affected,” he told ACI Africa during the Monday, April 27 interview.
He had also raised concern that “Christians who do not always understand the meaning of spiritual communion tend not to pray or keep holy their Sunday duties.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa