Covid-19: After Mumbai, Mangalore Bishop exempts Catholics from Mass

Our Bureau | Updated on March 19, 2020 Published on March 19, 2020

Mangaluru, March 19

The Bishop of Mangalore Peter Paul Saldanha has issued directives to be followed in the churches and religious institutions in view of the coronavirus outbreak. On Wednesday, the Archbishop of Mumbai had exempted Catholics from attending church till March 31.

In a circular sent by the Bishop of Mangalore, to all Catholics of the diocese, he said that in the interest of health and safety, coming in groups to the church, congregating in groups and exiting in groups are prohibited. The circular was released to media late Wednesday evening.

“When public access to Sunday Mass is unavailable, the faithful are dispensed from the Sunday obligation of Mass. As Sunday continues to be a holy day, the obligation of private and family prayer along with spiritual communion with the Lord and with others remains. Regular Masses will not be held. I am hereby exempting all our faithful in the Diocese of Mangalore from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays till March 31,” he said, adding that priests may offer masses even without the participation of the congregation.

Even when individuals are in the church, they are encouraged to remain at adequate distance from other individuals praying in private. “In other words, observe the protocol of social distancing,” he said.

Whenever the church remains open, it is the responsibility of the Parish priest (or one whom he designates) to ensure that the church is not crowded at any time in time and people maintain ‘social distancing’. He said the churches will remain open for private prayer, meditation, visit to the Blessed Sacrament and private / individual adoration.

People who are ill, or are suspected to be ill, considered vulnerable, or with chronic illness, immune system deficiencies or other underlying health conditions should refrain from visiting churches and other places, he said.

The directive also mentioned that spiritual programmes with the congregation such as public retreats, Way of the Cross, common penitential services, and other devotions held in common should be cancelled.

As restriction has been placed on public gatherings and all public celebrations, Parish priests and heads of institutions should take into consideration the order of the district administration on the issue of providing access to parish halls for programmes and meeting places, he said.

These directives should be followed in the churches and religious institutions situated in the diocese of Mangalore until further orders, he added.

Published on March 19, 2020
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