Panaji, March 19 (IANS) In a fresh advisory, the Goa Church here on Thursday dispensed Catholics from the obligation of attending the Sunday Mass and also urged them against visiting the religious place for daily prayers in large groups.
While not shutting the Church premises spread across Goa, the circular directs priests to not ‘abandon the faithful” and “lead from the front’ in the ongoing crisis.
“The faithful are dispensed from the obligation of participating in the Mass on Sundays and holy days. To prevent the community transmission of virus, the faithful are advised not to go for daily Mass, unless it’s strictly necessary,” the circular issued by Goa Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao said.
Those who continue to wish to attend Church services, whose timings have been curtailed, have been advised to keep a one meter distance from another.
Those who are unwell with symptoms of coronavirus, senior citizens, children, suffering from severe illnesses and those who have returned from overseas after March 1, have been advised to not attend Church services.
The directive also urges priests to maintain hygiene levels in the Church premises and has asked them to continue with prayer services “even without a congregation”.
“Wherever possible, the celebration of the Mass is to be live-streamed or recorded and then broadcast, either by the respective parish or through the local electronic media,” the circular read.
Ferrao has also dissuaded weddings, baptism and funeral services with large gatherings.
More than one fourth of the state’s population is of Catholic religious orientation.