SOUTH AFRICA: Archbishop Mpako Orders Immediate Re-opening of Churches in Pretoria Archdiocese

PRETORIA, FEBRUARY 5, 2020 (CISA) – Archbishop Anthony Dabula Mpako of the Catholic Archdiocese of Pretoria has called for immediate reopening of Catholic churches in the Catholic Archdiocese of Pretoria as the country welcomes arrival of first vaccinations against the coronavirus.

“Yesterday, on the feast of Blessed Benedict Waswa, we celebrated the arrival of the first Covid-19 vaccinations in South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced changes to lockdown level 3.  We thank God for the drop in infections, hospitalisations and deaths.  In light of the president’s announcement, I hereby instruct that all our churches in the Archdiocese should be opened for public liturgical services, including Masses with the faithful with immediate effect,” the Archbishop said in a February 2 memo.

The reopening comes with safety regulations that call for not more than 50 congregants in indoor gatherings, and not more than 100 in outdoor gatherings.

If the church is small, the archbishop instructed that no more than 50 percent of the space must be used. Wearing of masks, physical distancing of 1.5 meters between persons, hand washing and sanitization must be enforced at all gatherings.

By February 5, Coronavirus confirmed cases in South Africa stood at 1,466,767, with 45,605 deaths and 1,327,186 recoveries.