Catholic churches in Lagos state have been asked to hold public and Sunday masses in compliance with the directive of the Lagos government, limiting religious gatherings to not more than 50 people.
In a circular signed by the Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, Priests were advised to increase the number of masses celebrated on Sundays but ensure that each mass does not have more than 50 people in attendance.
The Archbishop also directed that the elderly, Pregnant women, Nursing Mothers and persons with serious health conditions who are susceptible to the Coronavirus are relieved of their obligation to attend mass.
He stressed that people who fall in this category should follow the Mass online on Lumen Christi Television Network.
The circular reads in part, “Public Masses on Sundays would be with not more than 50 persons.”
“Parishes should consider making use of other available spaces within the Church premises such as Parish Halls to increase the number of Masses to be celebrated on Sundays.”
“Parishes should also use the Small Christian Communities as venues for Masses.”
“Parishes can also make use of projector screens to transmit Mass to other locations around the Church.”
” At this time, Saturday evening Mass in lieu of obligation for Sunday should be used more.
” It is important to emphasize the need for maintaining the required social distance and spacing especially when attending Mass.
” In line with the authority that devolves to the Local Ordinary at critical times such as this, we hereby pronounce that the elderly (65 years and above), pregnant women, nursing mothers and children below 18 years and those with serious health conditions who are more susceptible to infection by the virus are hereby relieved of their obligation to attend Mass even on Holy days of obligation and Sundays for the period of the next four weeks with immediate effect.”
” We actively encourage all the faithful to take advantage of following the Mass to be streamed live and on the Lumen Christi Television Network during the period of this emergency. We can make a Spiritual Communion at the appropriate time during the Mass. It is a part of our spiritual heritage that when circumstances such as the present one happens and we are not able to go to Mass, we can make a Spiritual Communion. Our faith teaches us that the Spiritual Communion is as effective as when we physically receive the sacred species, the Body and Blood of Christ.”
The Archbishop also adjusted proceedings for Palm Sunday and Easter celebration.
” Public procession with Palm fronds is suspended. The Rite of blessing palms in the Church is to be used.
” The Chrism Masses would be only for Priests and those appointed. It would be celebrated observing the required Social distance in the big Churches that we use for the two Masses.”
” Parish Galilee Day Celebration is hereby suspended.”
The circular also stressed the need for proper hygiene by parishioners as precautionary measures to keep the virus at bay.
It also charged the State and federal government to double efforts made towards containing the spread of the Coronavirus by ensuring that all points of entry into the country are secured.