Pastoral Letter

Subsequent to my communication to you on the Coronavirus pandemic on March 6th and the recent directives of our President and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, I wish to convey the following to all of you.

Your health is very important and so we encourage every person to be a good citizen and follow the guidelines of the government and health authorities. Protect your life and that of others.

In the light of the restriction outlawing any gathering of more than 100 people and the social distancing recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Catholic Church directs as follows:

  1. Mass – Sunday Mass should not have more than 100 persons attending.
    • Priests are advised to have shorter Masses and to multiply the number of Masses to suit their particular Parish. Please keep the social distance of 1 meter
    • There should be no Masses at home.
    • Merapelo (Prayers) should not exceed 100 people
    • Saturday evening Mass to be introduced to help satisfy the Sunday obligation
  2. Chrism Mass – This is opened only to priests, deacons and the Religious and 20 choir members
  3. Palm Sunday, short procession around the church for a few people only.
  4. Holy Thursday Mass for only 100 people.
    • Priests can celebrate two Masses, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening.
    • No washing of feet ritual
    • Adoration is cancelled
  5. Good Friday Service - Veneration of the Cross, priest to hold the Cross high for all to venerate from their seats.
  6. Holy Saturday - vigil Mass (not more than 100) If possible adult baptisms should be done in the afternoon to avoid crowding.
    • All night vigils are cancelled
  7. Easter Sunday – a number of Masses could be celebrated in each parish to satisfy the desire of Catholics to attend Mass.
  8. Confessions - Face to face confession or in the box is postponed for now. Priests are to give general Absolution to penitents
  9. Stations/Way of the Cross should be done in small groups
  10. Pitso. All pitso’s are postponed including that for Men on March 22nd
  11. Festivals. All festivals, fetes, bazaars and big parish fund raising events are postponed
  12. No Choir Practice.
  13. Retreats/Conferences. All retreats and conferences for sodalities of more than 100 people is to be postponed
  14. Pilgrimages. All pilgrimages are to be postponed or cancelled.
  15. All adoration chapels should be closed for public use. People are advised to pray in the main church.
  16. Wedding and Funeral Masses cannot be postponed. These should be celebrated for 100 persons.
  17. Priests to wash hands and use hand sanitizers before and after each visitation to the sick
  18. Communion to the sick should be administered on the hand
  19. Concelebrating priests should not receive Communion under both species
  20. All Catholic Schools should follow the protocol of the government

These are trying times; we need to cry out to God for mercy and for healing. The word of God tells us that “Whenever I hold back the rain or send locusts to eat up the crops or send an epidemic on my people, if they pray to me and repent and turn away from the evil they have been doing, then I will hear them in heaven, forgive their sins and make their land prosperous again.” 2 Chronicles 7, 13 -14

Let us pray that this pandemic will pass us by and would not result in the death of any of our people. May God bless our land. Pula!