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Togolese Bishops Urge Government to Authorize Public Worship Resumption in “all places”

Catholic Bishops in Togo during their 125th Plenary Session in Kara.

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Togo (CET) have called on the government of the West African nation to authorize the resumption of public worship in the country amid COVID-19 precautionary measures.

In the Friday, October 23 report, the Bishops are quoted saying that it is “appropriate that all churches and other places of worship be opened to the faithful, in accordance with the COVID-19 preventive measures.” 

The members of CET want the government to lift the ban public worship gatherings because “we must now live with COVID-19 for a while and there is a progressive resumption of activities in all sectors of social life, including schools, services, markets, hotels and restaurants.” 

In the October 23 statement issued following the Bishops’ 125th Plenary Session that is signed by the Secretary General of CET, Fr. Emile Segbedji, CET members express the hope that the Togolese government will take into account their concerns.

In July, after religious leaders and the Togolese government held a consultative meeting and agreed on an “experimental reopening of places of worship,” select churches, mosques and other places of worship in the country were allowed to reopen for public services.

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Catholic Bishops in Togo announced the resumption of public Masses in 146 Catholic parishes across the West African country in July. 

In the July 12 collective statement, CET members directed that Masses in the select parishes be celebrated “in strict compliance” of the COVID-19 safety measures that include maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 meters and limiting choir members to a maximum of 10.  

Celebration of public Masses had been suspended in March after the government announced the closure of places of worship in the country  in an effort to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In the October 23 statement, the Bishops express their gratitude to God for “saving our country the heavy loss of human life observed on other continents.”

With a population of just less than 8 million, the country has recorded at least 2,139 cases of COVID-19 including 52 related deaths and 1,574 recoveries. 

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In their collective message, the Bishops also entrust to “the mercy of God the people who died as a result of this pandemic, present their compassion to the sick, thank the Authorities for the efforts made to fight this plague and urge all the sons and daughters of the country to observe the recommended measures.”