On Friday, June 5, South Sudan had recorded at least 1,640 COVID-19 cases, 14 related deaths and six recoveries from the illness.
According to the South Sudanese Archbishop, pastoral directives and practical guidelines regarding funerals and anointing of the sick, weddings and baptism need to be observed and implemented throughout the two ecclesiastical regions of Juba Archdiocese and the Diocese of Torit until a future notification from the presidency.
“In arranging a funeral service or anointing of the sick during this pandemic, the priests or other ministers must comply with government instructions and health advice,” he said and added that weddings that attract large gatherings should not be celebrated as the country fights contagion.
For the Clergy to keep in touch with members of parishes and chapel communities, the 56-year-old Prelate encouraged them to employ alternative communication means such as telephone, email, or social media such as Facebook or WhatsApp.
The sacrament of Baptism can only be administered in emergency cases in hospitals or at home, under strict compliance with the required hygiene and social distancing rules, the Archbishop directed.
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He went on to encourage the Clergy, religious men and women and the faithful to take voluntary tests for coronavirus.
“It is only when we know our status that we can better protect ourselves and others,” he said, but observed that the mass testing would only be possible where the government increased testing capacity in the country that would allow easy access.
Calling to mind the experiences in the past, the Prelate appealed, “Let us apply the lessons learned and approaches used in battling recent epidemics such as Ebola and HIV.”
“My dear people of God, let us firmly believe that God is with us, as close as we are to ourselves spiritually during this time of coronavirus pandemic. Despite all these happenings in our history, there is always something for which to be grateful,” Archbishop Ameyu said.
In his pastoral message entitled “A call to prayer and action,” the Archbishop invited the citizens of the world’s newest nation to join Pope Francis in praying for all the catastrophes that have engulfed the world.
“Let us join the Holy Father Pope Francis in praying for those other familiar pandemics: hunger, war, children without education,” he said and added, “Let us pray for healthcare personnel and those who risk their lives in the service of others during this pandemic.”