Coronavirus outbreak: Catholics exempt from attending Sunday Mass

Updated: Mar 19, 2020, 08:05 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

Archdiocese of Bombay to upload Mass video on website; families advised to pray amid pandemic

Cardinal Oswald Gracias
Cardinal Oswald Gracias

Recognising the need to minimise large gatherings of people and social contact amid the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the Archdiocese of Bombay Cardinal Oswald Gracias on Wednesday exempted Catholic faithful from attending Sunday Mass at Church till March 31.

In a circular released by the Archdiocese's office, Cardinal Oswald Gracias also urged all those who are sick or those who have a medical condition to not come to Church for Sunday Mass. Similarly, those with fever, cough and cold, and over the age of 60, have also been urged to not come. The Archdiocese's office also advised everyone to reduce socialising and stay at home as much as possible.

These norms — being enforced during Lent — will be revised in early April. The circular further encouraged to pray together as well as have a meditative reading of the Bible for 15 minutes and follow the 'Eucharist' on Youtube if convenient.

"The government has recommended social isolation for the time being up until March 31," said Father Nigel Barrett, spokesperson, Archdiocese of Bombay.

"The elderly and aged are the ones more prone to the virus. We have to be responsible citizens. There will be online services every Sunday that will be uploaded on
the Archdiocese of Bombay website."

Although people have been exempted from coming, Mass will be performed at church as usual.

When asked why had churches not been completely shut down the way big temples like Siddhivinayak have, Barrett explained that only those churches, temples and mosques that are places of pilgrimage have been temporarily shut down.

"These are places that are open to pilgrims of all faiths," he said, adding that the Novena at Mahim's St Michael's church had been shut down.

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