As we follow the happenings around the world regarding COVID-19 (also known as the Corona Virus) and its disastrous evolution, we remain conscious of the possibility of its arrival to our shores. In that regard, therefore, we need to remain vigilant by exercising every discipline recommended by the Church, the State and regional and international Health organizations, to prevent or curtail the spread of the virus.
In order to enhance these preventative measures, here are some updates to our previous guidelines:
- The Diocesan Youth Rally, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 04, 2020 is postponed to a later date, which will be announced subsequently;
- All Lenten retreats as far as possible can be held on community level. This is recommended in order to reduce the large gatherings. Additionally, I strongly encourage various smaller groups to assembly for vigils, Stations of the Cross, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, to pray earnestly for God’s protection against COVID-19.
- I recommend that the parishes hold a well-prepared penitential service during the Lenten Season, at which the Parish Priest will be authorized by the Bishop to administer General Absolution to the faithful penitents.
- When attending Sunday Masses, please strictly follow the guidelines previously given regarding, receiving Holy Communion, sharing the Sign of Peace, the Holy Water Font, and precautionary measures regarding coughing and sneezing.
- The elderly who are unable to attend Mass of other services are advised to follow the 9:00AM Mass aired on the Dominica Catholic Radio or EWTN on Sunday morning.
In this time of crisis and uncertainty, it is imperative that, as a Christian community, we remain united in unceasing prayer with and for each other. In that regard:
- I invite all members of the that Clergy and Religious in the Diocese to do a personal daily Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer for the Church and the Nation as we work towards preventing/combating the deadly COVID-19.
- I encourage families to stay united in prayer e.g. the recitation of the Holy Rosary, engaging in the spiritual reading of the Bible (Lectio Divina), the Divine Office, meditation, family novenas, etc.
- More than ever before, we must be mindful of the need to be our brothers and sisters’ keepers. Let us remember those in the region and around the world who have contracted the virus and those who have succumbed to its mortal effects. May their souls rest in peace!
As bishop of the Diocese I offer these guidelines to show:
- First, my deep concern for you and your families;
- Secondly, as precautionary measures to safeguard your health and wellbeing;
- Thirdly, to express solidarity with all those from our region and around the world who have contracted the virus, recuperating from it, or succumbed to its mortal effect; and.
- Fourthly, to remind you that as a Christian community our first response to any calamity is to intercede, asking God’s favour upon his people.
Please be mindful of the possibility of updating our guidelines as time progresses.
Let up place our entire Diocese, our region and our world under the maternal protection of our Blessed Lady as she takes our petitions to the Divine Son.
The Bishop also spoke on vocation. His full statement can be found here.