“It has been a great suffering,” the Local Ordinary of Dakar said in reference to the closure of places of worship and added, “I appreciate the way in which the communities quickly organized themselves to use the media and, so if they could not participate in the Mass, at least they could follow via the social networks.”
In a press release issued July 10, Catholic Bishops in Senegal announced their collective decision to keep Churches closed even after the government eased COVID-19 restrictions and urged the faithful “to be patient in faith and in hope.”
The West African nation has reported at least 9,961 cases of COVID-19 including 6,655 recoveries and 200 related deaths, according to statistics from Worldometers.
In the July 29 report, the 71-year-old Senegalese Prelate explained, “Our decision not to immediately reopen places of worship is to allow each bishop to evaluate the conditions for a gradual resumption of worship in his diocese, making sure the preventive measures prescribed by the health authorities are respected.”
“The Senegalese State had anticipated the lockdown by creating family grants. Food distribution was organized throughout the country by identifying the poorest families. This has relieved a number of families and we welcome this solidarity initiative,” Archbishop Ndiaye noted in appreciation.
He further observed that the government’s intervention “does not prevent the needs of families from still being there and people from having to brave the risks of the spread of the disease in order to have enough to live on.”
“This pandemic is, therefore, a signal to alert us of our way of life, often in connection with our environment,” the Archbishop of Dakar added.
As a way forward, the Archbishop has appealed for “patience and perseverance” before the resumption of public worship, adding that “self and collective discipline must be promoted for the good of all.”
“We envisage the reopening of places of worship and the resumption of pastoral activities around mid-August if the situation improves,” Archbishop Ndiaye said and added, “We ask the Lord to continue to strengthen our faith and we pray strongly to him to deliver us from this pandemic.”
Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.
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