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Bishops in Congo-Brazzaville Want Resumption of Public Worship “in an organized manner”

Bishops in Congo Brazzaville after meeting with Prime Minister, Clement Mouamba Tuesday, June 2.

In a meeting with the Prime Minister of Congo-Brazzaville early this week, representatives of the Catholic Bishops in the Central African country expressed the need for resuming public worship in a way that does not put the people of God at risk of contracting COVID-19.

“We just had a fruitful discussion with the Prime Minister where we insisted a lot on the need for us to seeks ways to reopen places of worship in an organized manner, making sure that the faithful respect the preventive measures put in place to avoid the spread of COVID-19,” the President of the Episcopal Conference of Congo-Brazzaville (CEC), Bishop Daniel Mizonzo told journalists Tuesday, June 2 after their meeting with the Prime Minister, Clement Mouamba.

Bishop Mizonzo who led the Bishops’ delegation further said, “Churches have a vital role to play in the fight against this pandemic. The government wants the Church to help sensitize the population on the threats posed by this disease.”

“How can we effectively sensitize the population if places of worship remain closed?” Bishop Mizonzo probed.

He disclosed that the Bishops have drawn up a document containing proposals for an organized reopening of places of worship.

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“We have presented this document to the Prime Minister, hoping that he will channel it to the President of the Republic,” the Bishop of Nkayi said adding that some of the measures proposed are already being implemented in churches in the Central African nation.

Congo-Brazzaville has recorded at least 611 cases of COVID-19, 179 recoveries and 20 related deaths, according to statistics from worldometers.

Though schools reopened Tuesday, June 2 in the central African nation, places of worship and seminaries remain closed.

Bishop Mizonzo advocated for the reopening of houses of formation saying, “Life in our seminaries must continue. We are pleading with our government to allow our seminaries to reopen. Our seminarians have been home since March and if schools have reopened, they should also be allowed to complete their formation.”

Meanwhile, at the meeting with the Bishops, Prime Minister Mouamba assured the Catholic leaders that their proposals would be channeled to the President of the Republic for appropriate action.

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The Bishops, who expressed their appreciation for government’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19 used the opportunity to officially inform the Prime Minister about the elevation of the dioceses of Pointe-Noire and Owando to Archdioceses.