, 29 October, 2020 / 8:48 PM
All Saints Day, Sunday, November 1 is expected to mark the resumption of public Mass and other liturgical celebrations in The Gambia, the Bishop of the only Catholic Diocese in the West African nation announced.
“I hereby wish to inform all The Priests, Religious, Seminarians and the lay faithful of the Diocese of Banjul that the Phase 1 regulations and measures for liturgical celebrations and sacraments will be reintroduced throughout the Diocese effective from 1st November, 2020, the Feast of All the Saints until further notice,” Bishop Gabriel Mendy of Banjul Diocese said Tuesday, October 27.
Public worship had been resuspended in August in The Gambia following an increase in the reported cases of COVID-19.
The resumption of the celebration of Holy Mass in public from November 1 should be scheduled “in such a way that there is a one-hour interval between the Masses so that the parish Church can be properly cleaned and arranged for the next Mass,” Bishop Mendy announced from The Gambia Pastoral Institute (GPI).
Meanwhile, the celebration of the weekday and Sunday Masses “should not exceed 1hour 15minutes,” the member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) further said.
“Only the essential and basic parts of the Mass should be sung by the choir of not more than 15 members,” the Bishop directed and added, “Once Mass begins, no late comers should be allowed to enter the Church at any time, not even for offertory and Holy Communion.”
In the latest directives, elderly parishioners, the sick and children below 12 years of age have been exempted from participating in public worship in person.
To cater for spiritual nourishment of those exempted, the 53-year-old Prelate said, “Eucharistic ministers will bring Holy Communion to you in your homes and Masses will continue being streamed on GPI for your spiritual benefits.”
The West African nation has recorded 3,666 cases of the novel coronavirus.
In his message, the Local Ordinary of Banjul, the only Catholic Diocese in The Gambia further directed, “Confession in Parishes will strictly be by appointment. Parishioners should contact and consult their Parish Priest.”
He added that Parish groups can have their respective meetings with a maximum of 30 members at each time.
“Any group meeting should ensure that they clean and rearrange the seats before they leave,” the Bishop said and added, “Not more than two groups should meet at the same time on any given day.”
He encouraged the people of God under his case to strictly observe and implement the regulations.
“For the coronavirus pandemic is still very active and fatal, so there is an urgent need to always apply precautionary measures like wearing face masks, washing hands, maintaining social distance and avoiding social events that become super spreaders of the coronavirus,” Bishop Mendy said.
He implored the faithful to “commend ourselves to the Blessed mother, Our Lady of Assumption the patroness of our Diocese and all the Saints on whose Feast we resume the celebration of Public Masses and Sacraments that they will intercede and obtain for us the health and protection we need to continue to serve our loving and merciful Father through Christ our Lord.”
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