As the Easter festivities approach, Archbishop Jason Gordon has reprimanded a few parishes for mocking COVID-19 health and safety recommendations, after one affirmed infected case started in the congregation of the church.
In a letter dated March 24, which Guardian media got a duplicate of, Archbishop Gordon uncovered that because of the most recent admonition from wellbeing authorities about an ascent in cases, the Washing of the Feet, all parades and the kissing of the sculpture and cross won’t be permitted during the current year’s Holy Week celebrations.
“Several calls have been received by some members of the Archdiocesan HSE Team and also by me, to state that certain parishes are flouting the COVID-19 protocols issued by the Ministry of Health and by our HSE Team,” Gordon revealed in the letter.
The Archbishop stated, “For the sake of the common good, I urge you to recommit to the strict protocols that have kept us safe thus far.”
This week, the Ministry of Health authorities affirmed that a new COVID-19 case had been a person who was not feeling great and still went to chapel. They didn’t distinguish the patient’s confidence however affirmed they left the nation of Caroni, which has seen a fighting late spike in cases and went to Port-of-Spain to go to support.
With the current spike in the quantity of COVID-19 cases, Gordon beseeched all individuals from the church to guarantee exacting rules are kept.
“It is vital that we set a very high standard of safety, pastoral care and liturgy in all our parishes. I take this opportunity to request all members of the clergy to familiarise themselves and the faithful, with the COVID-19 guidelines to ensure the safe conduct of masses and services. This is particularly important in the upcoming Holy Week when attendance at masses and church services traditionally increases,” he said.
“To avoid members of the congregation sitting in pews/seats left vacant to facilitate physical distancing, no members of the congregation must be allowed to sit in those vacant pews/seats. It is recommended to use caution tape to prevent access to both ends of the pews. To avoid over-crowding, those wishing to attend masses or services must register in advance, either by way of the Calendly App or by contacting the parish office, either by telephone or in-person,” Gordon said.
Additionally, Gordon shared that “The names and contact information for all persons attending every mass and service must be recorded to facilitate contact tracing. Where air-conditioning units are used in a church building, windows must be left open to ensure adequate ventilation”.
“Those in attendance must remain in their pew. We need to find innovative ways of using technology to stream the Way of the Cross on Friday morning. Veneration of the Cross—during the liturgy on Good Friday evening, this could be done in the traditional manner, only by the priests. Mass on Holy Saturday starts with all loyal leftover in their places in the congregation. Just the pastor and workers are permitted around the fire for its lighting. As far as possible for any mass or administration has been set at one hour and thirty minutes,” he said.
The Archbishop told his clerics that they should all demonstrate capably and evade dangers to parishioners and the more extensive public.