Reopening of Churches in Botswana “light at the end of the tunnel,” Bishop Says

Bishop Frank Nubuasah, SVD of Botswana's Gaborone diocese.

Following the decision by the parliament of the landlocked Southern African nation of Botswana to begin a gradual lifting of the five-week COVID-19 lockdown, a Bishop in the two-diocese country has welcomed the move, terming it “light at the end of the turnel.”

“We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel for the reopening of the churches,” the Bishop of Gaborone diocese, Frank Nubuasah noted in his Saturday, May 9 statement seen by ACI Africa.

Noting that “people have different understanding of the outcome” of the parliamentary discussion to ease restrictions, the Prelate who is a member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) Missionaries has clarified that churches can reopen from May 21 but under strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

To enforce social distancing, the Ghanaian-born Bishop has informed the faithful that in line with the parliamentary guidelines, the “number of congregants should not exceed 50.”

“Two Masses are permitted per week,” Bishop Nubuasah has directed in the one-page letter and recommended, “I suggest you have one Mass on Friday and on Sunday.”


According to the 71-year-old Prelate, Christians will not require permits to attend Mass within the same zone or parish.

He thanked the faithful for their cooperation during the lockdown and assured them that their prayers “have been helpful and appreciated by all.”

Botswana, a country of 2.2 million people has an estimated 5-6 percent of Catholics spread across two dioceses: Gaborone diocese to the south and Francistown diocese to the north.

The two dioceses are under the ecclesiastical province of Pretoria, South Africa and fall under the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC).

With 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases and one related death, lawmakers in the country on Wednesday, May 6 approved proposals by President Mokgweetsi Masisi to gradually lift the lockdown so as to allow for the reopening of the economy and schools.

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