GHANA: Bishops Impose Strict Guidelines on Resumption of Liturgical Celebrations

ACCRA, JUNE 6, 2020 (CISA)-Catholic Churches that desire to open for public worship must disinfect, fumigate and put in place the requisite logistics needed to guarantee safe opening and operation as directed by the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC).

A June 4 statement signed by Archbishop Philip Naameh the President of GCBC also called on stakeholders to set up registration desks near the entrance where people will register their name and contact after washing their hands before entering the Church or Chapel.

This comes in the wake of an announcement by President Nana Akufo-Addo to ease certain restrictions placed on public gatherings.

“…we Bishops are aware that the resumption of liturgical celebrations may involve some risks. Nonetheless, the Church in Ghana desires to prudently manage those risks so as to create an environment that will minimize the adverse impact of the virus on society,” it reads.

The bishops called for regular cleaning of communal facilities, cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and provision of veronica buckets, soap and disposable towels and various points of the church premise.

Stakeholders are also advised to form Covid-19 taskforce comprising of members who have healthcare backgrounds and places of worship should also “designate a holding room for people who will be sick at any time.”

“Wearing of mask is mandatory for all entering the Church,” they said insisting on 25 percent attendance with a maximum number of 100 congregants in order to limit crowds at public worship gatherings. Priests have been urged to use all convenient options to prevent attempts to attend Mass beyond the permitted number of 100 participants and to avoid crowds awaiting to gain entry to the church.

“Lines for offertory collection/Holy Communion should observe one-meter distance as the line progresses, this may require one line for Holy Communion with no side by side standing,” it adds.

As pertains the sacrament of reconciliation, the bishops insisted on a minimum distance of one-meter between confessor and penitent.

“Were applicable screens impervious to droplet transmission should be used. Arrangements for reconciliation should avoid the need for the penitent to have to touch door hands or other surfaces,” the bishops said.

Priests have been advised to limit Sunday Masses to 1 hour to limit exposure time between persons and set strict social distancing guidelines for priests to prevent contact between concelebrants at the altar.

As archbishops and bishops prepare to lift the ban of liturgical celebrations in dioceses, the conference insisted that their decisions should be informed on condition that parishes are able to fulfil the directives outlined by the government.