Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) - Two months after the closure of churches throughout the country due to the health crisis caused by Covid-19, the Conference of Catholic Bishops of the Ivory Coast (CECI) has ordered the "resumption of the daily and Sunday Eucharistic celebrations with the participation of not more than 200 people as of Sunday 17 May". In their statement the Ivorian Bishops ask parish priests and faithful to act responsibly for a rigorous organization of celebrations in accordance with the health measures established by the government.
It also provides "the resumption of all pastoral activities starting from May 17 on the whole national territory, in particular catechesis, prayer group meetings and basic ecclesial communities, celebration of other sacraments and funerals".
The Bishops recommend, however, that the various meetings remain subject to strict compliance with the social distancing in force, namely "wearing a mask, washing your hands at the entrance of the churches, respecting the distance of at least one meter between people, omitting peace gestures, greetings, hugs, limiting meetings to a maximum of 200 people". With regard to the situation of kindergartens, schools and universities, the Bishops invite "the various leaders to comply with the measures adopted by the government".
In conclusion, the Bishops congratulate the Catholic faithful and their priests for the exemplary and rigorous observance of the protective measures and encourage them to persevere in trusting the Lord, the only one able to free us from this pandemic.
CECI has established these provisions following the new government measures announced on May 14, which include, inter alia: "the reorganization of measures to limit meetings from 50 to 200 people, the reopening of kindergartens, primary, secondary schools and universities from May 25". (S.S.) (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 16/5/2020)