HCMC churches suspend mass as Covid knocks

By Huu Cong   May 22, 2021 | 05:11 pm GMT+7
HCMC churches suspend mass as Covid knocks
Aerial view of the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon in April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Churches in Ho Chi Minh City would suspend certain pastoral activities and mass ceremonies starting Saturday upon request by city authorities to mitigate the coronavirus crisis.

The decision, announced by the municipal Archdiocese on Saturday morning, was to protect the health of the community and contribute to the Covid-19 fight, according to Peter Kieu Cong Tung, archbishop of the Archdiocese.

Priests would still perform holy ceremonies daily to pray for the pandemic's passing, but no gathering of more than 20 is allowed and everyone must be at least two meters apart.

Starting on Saturday, daily ceremonies at the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon would be broadcast online so all Catholics may participate from afar.

All churches and chapels under the Archdiocese have been requested to abide by Covid-19 prevention measures like disinfection and mask wearing.

This is the fourth time churches in the southern metropolis have had to suspend ceremonies with large gatherings due to the coronavirus; the last three times were in March and July 2020 and this February.

The HCMC Archdiocese currently oversees 203 churches with nearly 700,000 laities.

Amid the nation's latest Covid-19 wave that has seen 1,963 local cases recorded in 30 cities and province since late last month, HCMC has recorded six cases in total, five of which were confirmed over less than a week, raising concerns of a potential outbreak.

The city has decided to suspend non-essential activities like bars and dance clubs and request eateries to only allow takeaways. Meetings, festivals and religious ceremonies are limited to 20, among other measures.

 
 
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