Thus, in this new message, the Catholic Bishops invite the faithful “to strictly respect the measure prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people and greetings with physical contact, the respect of the distance of 01 meter between people” as required by the government.
According to the Bishops, public Masses “are maintained, provided that the parishes organize themselves in a responsible way by respecting the directives decreed by the government.”
Meanwhile, the Archdioceses and Dioceses of the Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé (CEAST) have also established restrictions during Eucharistic celebrations due to COVID-19.
The Bishops have ordered that as long as the Covid-19 pandemic persists, “the celebration of Mass should take place without physical contact between Christians, i.e. during the sign of peace one should avoid giving hands or hugs, and that communion should preferably be received on the hand.”
The Bishops also emphasized that “the church will do everything in its power to ensure that preventive information reaches the most remote areas.”
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So far, Angola has not registered any positive cases of COVID-19 and government authorities as well as civil society, churches, traditional authorities, the private sector and other institutions, are triggering initiatives for education, awareness and prevention in the communities.
In Liberia, the Bishops have also issued directives to the faithful on how to avoid the spread of the disease.
According to the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Liberia (CABICOL), Fr. Dennis Cephas Nimene, “Liberia being a post Ebola success story, is supposed to be adequately prepared in the wake of this COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Basic Ebola sanitary measures (washing of hands, check of temperature, etc) were put in place at schools, churches, airports, shops, etc,” Fr. Nimene told ACI Africa in an interview Tuesday, March 17.
“The official position of the Church was published Tuesday, March 17, calling on Christians to adhere to government ordinances and respect of basic hygiene rules,” Fr. Nimene said and added, “We have not reached the point of suspension of Masses. However, there will surely be some further measures, if need rises.”