Lagos, 01 March, 2020 / 9:05 pm (ACI Africa).
Against the backdrop of the confirmed case of coronavirus in the West African nation of Nigeria after a Lagos-based Italian tested positive for COVID-19 virus days after his return to the country’s most populous city from Milan, the Catholic Church has announced some preventive measures including temporary suspension of the Sign of Peace through handshakes and hugs during Mass and the receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.
The Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Nigeria’s Lagos Archdiocese directed Saturday, February 29 the suspension of “the shaking of hands as a sign of peace during Mass.”
Further measures to prevent the possible spread of the deadly virus, which the 60-year-old Nigerian Prelate has given in his “Special Circular” seen by ACI Africa concern Lenten season gatherings.
“During this season of lent, in order to reduce the number of times to the barest necessary, we encourage people to do Stations of the Cross privately on Wednesdays while public celebrations will be reduced to Fridays only,” the Archbishop directed in his February 29 circular addressed “to all priests and religious working in the Archdiocese of Lagos, and the lay faithful.”
A Nigeria-based online media has reported that the Friday gathering during Lent is maintained because “it is often followed by Mass.”