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Church in Africa Prepares for Safe Resumption of Celebrations

Reports from Several Countries

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Several Churches in Africa are resuming their activities after the lockdown imposed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. According to what Fides has learned, liturgical celebrations in Burkina Faso will resume from May 20, respecting a strict security protocol. This was announced by the Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso in a statement of May 9, in which it is stated that «after having prayed and reflected for a long time» the Bishops have decided to resume the celebrations «in particular Sunday masses and feasts of precept and the daily ones, starting from May 20, the eve of the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord». Among the safety measures to be respected are the sanitizing of churches, no exchange of peace, and the obligation to wear protective face masks.

In Senegal, President Macky Sall has announced the reopening of places of worship, Muslims, and Christians, from May 12, in response to pressing requests from the Islamic community that is celebrating the month of Ramadan. Even in Senegal, compliance with stringent health protection measures is requested to be able to attend churches and mosques and celebrate functions and prayers.

In Ivory Coast, Christian and Muslim places of worship have been reopened since 8 May in most of the national territory, with the exception of Abidjan, where the restrictions imposed by the government since 16 March remain. The previous provisions forbade celebrations with more than 50 faithful; now this number has been increased to 200 people.

In Ghana, in view of the easing of restrictions on attending places of worship, local Christian churches, including Catholic churches, through the Ghanaian Bishops’ Conference, have established common guidelines to ensure the safety of participants in religious services.

In Botswana, the parliament has decided a gradual relaxation of the social lockdown in force for five weeks, which also foresees a reopening of the places of worship starting from May 21, respecting strict sanitary measures.
«We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for the reopening of the churches», said His Exc. Mgr. Frank Nubuasah, Bishop of Gaborone. «Two masses per week are allowed», recalled Mgr. Nubuasah, who suggests «to celebrate one mass on Friday and one on Sunday».

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