, 19 July, 2020 / 3:41 PM
Clerics in Mozambique have spoken in response to the announcement to extend the closure of places of worship, which the country’s President made, terming the presidential directive as necessary in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the Southern African nation.
On Thursday, July 16, President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi directed, during his address to the nation, that “Religious services and other public activities will continue to be closed” and reiterated the need for personal responsibility in combatting COVID-19, with the country having reported at least 1,383 cases, including 9 related deaths and 375 recoveries.
“With the increase in the testing capacity that the country does, it has increased the number of people infected with COVID-19. It makes sense for prudence, to wait another 15 days to understand the state of the evolution of the disease in the country,” Fr. Salvador Bila who is the Director General of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique (CEM) Secretariat told ACI Africa correspondent.
Fr. Salvador underscored the need to “intensify awareness” on COVID-19 among people in rural areas before reopening places of worship saying, “It would not be good for the person to go to the church and return contaminated.”
“The resumption of these activities must be accompanied by faith and spirituality,” he said during the interview and added, “We have to learn and understand what message God wants to transmit to us.”
For Vincentian Fr. Jose Luís Azevedo Fernandes serving at St. John the Evangelist of Malhangalene Parish, though Christians desire to resume public worship in churches, COVID-19 restrictions provide “another opportunity to deepen our faith."
Fr. Jose Luís stressed the need to pay more attention to people living in rural areas “as it can be difficult for them due to the new ways of living in community with the imposition of prevention measures against this disease.”
The President’s announcement for continued suspension of public worship came 15 days before the end of a national lockdown, which has been extended for a third time to the end of July.
President Nyusi also retracted his previous directive to reopen schools. Learning institutions in the Southern African nation will closed “until it is confirmed that there are basic hygiene conditions to reopen.”
Last month, when the President announced the extension of the ban on religious gatherings for the third time, there were mixed reactions from Clerics in the Portuguese-speaking nation, with some supporting the move and others contesting it.
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