Amid the spread of the covid-19 pandemic with the ban on public gathering, the Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi has called on the Clergy of the Diocese to sustain the faith of the laity through prayer and the breaking of the word.
I share with you the full message contain the Pastoral Directives address to the Clergy of the Diocese and also shared for the benefit of the laity of the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi .
Read the full message below :
My Dear Brothers,
I met the College of Consultors yesterday to reflect on our priestly ministry amid COVID-19. Many of our people are living in fear as the number of infected cases keep rising. Our word will bring hope to them and prayers will sustain them.
In recent days, we have received directives from both the government and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. Let us cooperate in helping the implementation of these measures. They are for our good. As leaders of the community of faith, our people look up to us for direction. We are aware that our country lacks sufficient and well-equipped health facilities to handle the situation should it go beyond tolerable levels. We must, therefore, invest more in taking precautions and implementing preventive measures. We shall insist on the preventive measures such as social distancing, frequent washing of hands with soap, using sanitizers, covering the mouth with the arm or tissue while sneezing or coughing, etc. We shall neither create nor permit events that will oblige the people of God to come together for whatever reason during these scary times. Let us realize that we are in difficult times and pray that we get out of it soon.
How will we reach our Catholic Faithful?
Our people need to experience the closeness of the Church to them even if congregating for Holy Masses or other religious events and meetings are not permitted in these challenging times. As pastors, we will sustain their faith through prayer and the breaking of the word. We shall hold them in our prayers especially as we pray the Divine Office and celebrate the Eucharist daily for their intentions and their spiritual benefits. Christs’ faithful shall have opportunity during the day to visit the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament at their time of choice for private adoration and personal prayer whilst respecting the directives on social distancing and personal hygiene.
1. SekTadi Catholic TV will stream-live on YouTube and Facebook:
a. The Stations of the Cross every Friday.
b. Weekday Holy Masses at 6am (Fante) and Ipm (English).
c. Sunday Holy Masses at 8am (English) and loam (Fante)
2. The “Catholic Hour Program” aired on Twin City will continue. The Communication Office will offer religious programs to bring the word of God to our faithful and also permit them to pray.
3. Deaneries are encouraged to pair up or triple up, where possible, to buy airtime on an FM Station of their choice to share the Word, especially Sunday liturgy of the Word, with the people of God. Deans will do their best to make this suggestion a reality.
Holy Week Celebrations:
Holy Week is a special moment in the Church’s liturgical life. We shall celebrate it but with strict adherence to the directives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and within the limits imposed by government’s directives.
1. Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord: The Apostolic Administrator will celebrate the Palm Sunday Mass with a congregation of not more than five people. It will be streamed by SekTadi Catholic TV live on YouTube and Facebook. Priests will also celebrate Holy Mass in their various parishes respecting the directive restricting attendance to not more than five people. Palm branches will be blessed but processions with palm branches will be omitted.
2. The Chrism Mass is postponed to a later date.
3. Holy Thursday: The priest(s) of the parish will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper with a maximum of five people in attendance. The washing of feet and the procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the altar of repose at the end of Mass will be omitted.
4. Good Friday: Priests will celebrate the Passion of the Lord with a congregation of not more than five people. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has requested that we add a special intention for the sick, the dead and for those who feel lost or dismayed in the Solemn Intercessions.
5. Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
a. Easter Vigil: The priest will celebrate Mass restricting participation of not more than five people. The lighting of the fire will be omitted but the Pascal Candle will be lit and Easter Proclamation (Exultet) proclaimed. The liturgy of the Word and the renewal of baptismal promises will take place.
b. Mass During the Day (Easter Sunday): Priests will celebrate the Mass during the Day with not more than five of Christ’s faithful in attendance.
I unite with you and the Christ’s faithful of our dear Diocese and pray that the Lord will show His face and heal our world of COVID-19. Wishing you all a grace-filled Lenten season and the blessings of the paschal celebrations.
Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie
Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra and
Apostolic Administrator of Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese