By: Alex Charlie
Catholic bishops under the umbrella body of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) have suspended all public church gatherings until further notice.
The call from the bishops, comes barely few hours after government through ministry of health promulgated new Regulations and Rules for the prevention, containment and management of Corona virus commonly known as Covid-19.
ECM has since expressed it’s displeasure at the manner the new Guidelines have been issued as seen in its letter dated August 9, 2020.
“They have taken us by surprise. We were neither informed nor consulted despite the fact that we have been in the forefront lobbying for Covid-19 compliant behaviour.
“We believe we still have a role to play in this regard. However, since we are law abiding, we the Catholic Bishops instruct all the Clergy, the Religious and the Laity to suspend forthwith all public church gatherings until further notice.
“In the meantime, we shall engage the Government to see our true role in preventing the further spread of Covid-19,” reads the letter in part
It further said all earlier ECM directives shall remain in force reminding all Christians to pray in their houses every day, on Sundays, the order of prayers where there is no mass should be used.
“Priests should celebrate Mass daily in their parish church or community chapel in order to pray for the intentions of the people,” further reads the letter
The bishops then called on the Catholic media house to broadcast the Eucharistic Celebration which Christians will follow at designated times of the day.
“We urge the Clergy, the Religious and the Laity to continue to strictly adhere to the Health and Pastoral Guidelines earlier issued by the Conference and Ministry of Health such as washing hands with soap regularly and thoroughly, avoiding physical greeting and contact, observing social distance, using face masks among others.
“Let us unite in prayer, even when we are physically not able to meet as a liturgical assembly in our Lay Organizations, Small Christian Community (SCC), Out-station or Parish,” it stated
On Sunday, Malawi government outlined strict new measures to tackle the spread of Coronavirus, including a ban on public gatherings of more than 10 people among many others and that police and local authorities will have powers to disperse gatherings and wearing face masks is one mandatory in public places in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The restrictions come as Malawi continues to confirm increasing cases of Covid-19, with an average of 100 cases per day.
As of Sunday, August 9, 2020 Malawi had registered Corona virus cases with deaths.