Catholic bishops say churches will not be closed despite coronavirus pandemic


Catholic bishops say churches will not be closed despite coronavirus pandemic
FILE PHOTO Holy Family Basilica

Catholic churches will remain open with Priests told to exercise caution in regard to large gatherings.

Also Read: Jamia Mosque suspends congregational prayers indefinitely over the coronavirus

In a statement released on Thursday, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops urged priests to keep masses brief and encourage faithfuls to keep a distance of one metre from each other.

“Our churches are not closing…They will be the focal point of prayer, where you will find solace and strength from God,” the Bishops’ statement reads.

Priests have also been advised to give messages of hope and encouragement during the masses and avoid statements that may create panic and anxiety.

The clergymen are also expected to avail themselves to congregants for Holy Communion outside Mass provided that it is done in church.

Though the churches will remain open, the Bishops say attendance of mass is on the discretion of Catholic faithfuls.

Those who prefer to remain at home will still be able to follow the mass through television and radio broadcast.

For confessions, the Catholic Church has advised against face to face interaction saying: “We recommend that both the Confessor and the penitent should make use of the Confessionals provided with a linen device and preferable use protective masks.”

Celebration of mass in small Christian communities has been discouraged and those number of participants taking part in funerals, weddings and Way of the Cross is to be limited as per government directive on large gatherings.

Catholic Bishops have also urged faithfuls to avoid ‘common eating’ and those handling church offerings are to ensure they wear protective gear such as gloves and masks.

On Wednesday, Jamia Mosque suspended all congregational prayers indefinitely.

The Mosque said the decision was informed by several consultative meetings with a council of scholars (Majlis Ulamaa).

All Saints Cathedral also suspended all Sunday church services and cancelled meetings that were to be held at the premises.

The Anglican church also asked couples that had planned weddings for the next four weeks to consider cancelling the nuptials.

According to Provost Canon Sammy Wainaina, the church will remain open for individual prayers.

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