Catholic Churches declared open countrywide
By Gilo Jr. Okwata
The Catholic churches across the country have been officially opened with integrated guidelines described as ‘the new normal.’
Addressing the media on Thursday, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Diocese of Juba, Rev. Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla said that the Churches would resume their Holy Masses on 20th September, 2020 with adaptation to new system which comprised observing all the guidelines recommended by the Government taskforce on Covid-19 and a taskforce formed by the Catholic Archdiocese to draw up additional measures for reopening of places of worship.
The guidelines include social distancing, wearing face mask in public places, regular hand washing with soaps and sanitizing hand among others.
“On behalf of the Catholic bishops, I declare our Church open with ‘new normal’ that is with all the integrated guidelines provided by our high level taskforces. We will begin our Holy Masses on Sunday 20th September, 2020,” Ameyu said.
Ameyu called up on the people to be cautiously joyful with their worship, bearing in mind that Covid-19 is a real threat and should the infections increase again, the churches might be forced into lockdown. At the same time the Archbishop asked the people to be sensitive in regard to coming to the churches due to the new orders that had been put in place to guide the worshippers on the reorganization of Masses.
“We will not take more people in our Churches, if the Cathedral was taking at least one thousand people we will cut it by half. So it means that our people should space their coming and our priests are to celebrate mass only one hour such that it allows the next mass to begin,” he added.
He also reminded the people of the trials and tribulations the Church had gone through over ages and two thousand years’ experience of numerous storms of wars, plagues, famines and persecutions. According to Archbishop, the Mass is the source and summit of the Church’s life as well as the epicenter of Christianity
“All of these have impressed upon the memory of Mother Church, forming her old-age wisdom and inspiring her pastoral concern. One of the ingenious notions developed as a result of these trials is the practice of spiritual communion-meaning, we are called to unite our hearts with the hearts of our shepherds,” Ameyu stated.
On 22th March this year, the government announced the closure of all public places such as Churches, Mosques, Bars and other social gatherings in an effort to impose health safety measures to combat the spread of Coronavirus pandemic.