Archbishop Valerian Okeke
By Sunny A. David
Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha has taken far-reaching steps towards curtailing the spread of the coronavirus by suspending all public celebration of Holy Mass effective from Monday 30th March 2020.
In a release personally signed by the Archbishop, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, he urged all the priests working in the Archdiocese to use Sunday 29th March 2020 to sensitise the congregation in their various parishes over the latest development.
The Archbishop also directed that Easter activities beginning from Palm Sunday of Sunday 5th April to Sunday 19th April, Divine Mercy Sunday and weekday masses at all parish churches, oratories and chapels all remain suspended.
“Please use Sunday March 29 to explain to the people the necessity of this very difficult decision and other important liturgical guidelines they may need to know in this critical moment.
“I request that priests will celebrate Private Holy Masses in their parishes without the people. Priests are hereby requested to pray for the people in those private masses.
“With regard to Chrism Mass and Cathedraticum, only the Priests with two representatives will come from each parish preferably the Parish Council Vice Chairman and President of CWO or any other worthy representative in their absence.”
He said public celebration of the Stations of the Cross including Good Friday is also suspended with immediate effect while the Onitsha Archdiocesan secretariat is also closed from Thursday 26th March 2020 till further notice.
“This is indeed a very challenging time but it is also a time of growth and spiritual maturity,” the Archbishop concluded.