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CORONAVIRUS: Catholic Bishops say they will not close Churches as they are the focal point of prayers

By MACHUKI Dennson
The Catholic Church in Kenya has maintained that it will not close its doors because of the Coronovirus (COVID-19) that has heightened sensitivity and fear across the world.
In statement released on Thursday evening the Church has outlined measures that will be observed as Christians celebrate Sunday masses as usual.
In the statement the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops KCCB Chairman Archbishop Philip Anyolo said the Church is aware of the outbreak and the fear of further infections.
The Kisumu archbishop exhorted all the Christians to intensify individual and family prayers through daily Mass Readings, reflection of meditation, visit to the Blessed Sacrament, Adoration, recitation of the Rosary, Novenas, Way of the Cross and other Devotional Prayers.
Among the guidelines by the church, the Bishops say churches will be focal point of prayer, where you will find solace and strength from God.
They have asked the Catholic priests to be sources of hope and encouragement as they dispel panic and anxiety among people.
“These messages touching on the Coronavirus must not create panic and anxiety, but rather, it should encourage the people to confront the current situation with serenity and courage knowing that we shall overcome the virus with the help of God.”
The Church maintains that holy masses will continue to be celebrated though the Bishops’ conference strongly urges priests t exercise caution in regards to large gatherings and social distance of at least one meter as directed by the government. The priests also will be available to Christians for Holy Communion even outside the mass service.
Also those who will be able to attend have been asked to observe all the measures of prudence. Those who will be unable to attend Holy Mass can benefit from live streaming of celebration of Holy Mass through Capuchin TV (The Catholic TV in Kenya) and through radio stations like Radio Jangwani 106.3fm in Marsabit.
“We encourage all Christians, especially those in restriction, to continue benefiting from the Spiritual Communion or Communion of desire.”
Big events which could be like weddings, baptism and way of the cross have been discouraged as the country monitors the spread of the Coronavirus.
“On funerals, weddings, and Way of the Cross, we encourage the Priests and the Christian Communities to follow the directives given by the Government and the guidelines given by KCCB on limiting the number of participants and avoiding large crowds and common eating.”
The Bishops say these measures will be reviewed from time to time.
“We wish to remind you, our Christ Faithful, that these guidelines are not intended to create panic or anxiety but should be viewed as an opportunity for us to get closer to God and prevent further spread of this pandemic.
We commend ourselves to the merciful heart of our Saviour and the intercession of our Mother Mary, Mother of the Church and Help of the Sick, for our healing and protection and that of the whole world.”

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