30, March 2020
MORE DRASTIC MEASURES TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS WITHIN THE DIOCESE OF MAMFE
On the 17th of March, 2020, I issued out some recommendations to help and curb the spread of the deadly Corona Virus (Covid-19) that is ravaging the world and has also hit our country.All the recommendations stated in that letter still hold good.
On the 26th of March 2020, I arrived Mamfe on a brief visit and I discovered to my greatest dismay, that either the people of Mamfe are not aware of the presence and danger of this deadly disease or they are not taking it seriously. I met the streets were all full, bars were open, even into the night, youth were playing various games on various pitches and choirs were rehearsing for Holy Week ceremonies. This saddened me, because knowing the havoc that this pandemic is wrecking around the world, if it gets to our Diocese then we would not be able to count our dead.
As Care-Taker Pastor of this Local Church of Mamfe, I feel bound in duty and in conscience to remind our people that this Covid-19 is real and therefore I am issuing the following decisions regarding the life of our church:
1. All the instructions issued by the Government of Cameroon against the spread of this virus must be respected to the letter.
2. All Masses and the celebrations of the sacraments are suspended in the Diocese of Mamfe as from the date of this letter.
3. All pastoral and home visitations by the priests and the Bishop must be suspended till further notice.
4. The celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Baptisms, sacrament of the sick and the celebration of marriages are also suspended. In case someone wants to go for confession, it suffices to stay at home, make a perfect Act of Contrition and feel the forgiveness of God. However, such penitents must confess their sins when these suspensions are lifted.
5. All external activities of the Diocesan Youth Federation are suspended with immediate effect. The youth are therefore advised to stay at home and not come to the mission compound for activities.
6. Playing of sports on all mission play grounds are suspended.
7. During the Holy Week, every Parish Priest must celebrate in his parish Church only and no mission stations to be visited. In accordance with the instructions from the Vatican, On Palm Sunday there shall be no procession with Palms, no washing of the feet during Holy Thursday and no procession with the Blessed Sacrament. On Good Friday, no veneration of the Cross in the usual style, but the Cross will simply be lifted and all bow where they are sitting. On Holy Saturday night, there will be no fire and no procession with the Easter Candle. There will be no Baptisms but there will be renewal of Baptismal vows.
8. If it is necessary for the Christ’s Faithful to be present during Holy Week ceremonies, they must not be more than 50 persons and must sit giving a distance of at least one meter from the next person. These 50 persons include altar boys, choir, readers and the celebrant himself. There must be provision at the entrance of the church to wash hands and sanitize them before entering the church.
9. All churches and chapels must be open during the day so that God’s people can go in and pray individually.
10. The Bishop’s Office will remain closed to the public until further notice.
11. All priests, Consecrated Men and Women, Christ’s Lay Faithful and people of goodwill are strongly advised to quarantine themselves as much as possible during the coming weeks to avoid contracting this virus or spreading it
Let us pray to God that he may spare us of this virus and help our scientists to get a cure as soon as possible. We implore the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Health of the Sick and Comforter of the Afflicted in this desperate situation.
I wish each one of you a very Happy Easter and may God bless you abundantly.
Archbishop of Bamenda,
Apostolic Administrator of Mamfe.