To: All Priests, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Archdiocese of Accra
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
UPDATES ON THE RESUMPTION OF PUBLIC WORSHIP IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF ACCRA
Grace and peace of Christ be with you all!
On behalf of our Chief Shepherd, Most Rev. John Bonaventure KWOFIE and in consultation with the Archdiocesan Council of Priests, I wish to remind you to maintain the COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines that are still in force and to bring to your notice some new guidelines following His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah, the President of the Republic of Ghana’s 14′” State Address on COVID-19.
The following are the notable pieces of information and instructions for our scrupulous observance. We
place their implementation and monitoring in the various parishes and outstations under the watchful care of the priests, various Pastoral Councils and COVID-19 Teams, while the Deans provide general oversights in their respective Deaneries.
1. The restriction of a maximum of 100 persons per Holy Mass or Liturgical celebration has been
lifted. Nonetheless, for any religious function, the social distancing rule of at least one (1) metre and the standard hygienic practices are still in force, and so they must be strictly adhered to.
2. Funeral Masses or Services, however, must be restricted to a maximum of 100 persons.
3. The duration of a Holy Mass or any liturgical celebration must not exceed two (2) hours, and there should be fresh air ventilation throughout the celebration.
4. The wearing of face masks remains absolutely compulsory at any religious or social gathering.
5. The use of face shields alone (without a face mask) does not give the user the needed protection against COVID-19. Thus, face shields should not be used as a replacement for face masks in protecting one against COVID-19.
6. It is important we observe and ensure that all the CO ID-19 protocols that were in place especially
during our liturgical and para liturgical celebrations are maintained. This applies to all catholic institutions, places of work, residences, etc.
7. Priests are to avoid the imposition of hands by touching. Anointings may be carried out using fresh cotton wool. Whenever there is a level of physical contact with people, for the safety of others and also for himself, the priest should wash his hands with soap under running water or sanitize his hands immediately afterwards.
8. Given the Church’s norms for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the priest must be physically present to the penitent in person, and must be able to hear the penitent without the aid of electronic devices (that is, independently of a wired phone, a mobile phone, an intercom, or other
audio or video transmitting device). Priests can hear confessions under the conditions that he and
penitent wear face masks, both should respect social distancing of 2 metres apart and the sacredness of the sacrament is never to be compromised.
9. All those ministering at Mass, especially concelebrants, must observe social distancing when sitting, standing, or moving around especially in the sanctuary.
10. Entrance processions should still be reduced to the celebrants and, if required, a limited number of knights/ladies of the altar.
11. Other sacraments may be administered, taking into account the required social distancing.
12. The above recommendations can be applied to the Renewal of Vows, Profession of Final Vows, Jubilees amongst others.
13. Religious activities which require large numbers for gathering such as rosary procession, or crusades
are still to be put on hold until further notice.
14. Priests and Religious meetings, marriage counselling sessions and societal meetings/devotions which involve adults may resume. However, Catechism Classes, Children Services and other religious gatherings that involve children are still to be on hold until further notice.
15. We strongly recommend that pastors of souls and the various PPC o take active steps towards
special pastoral care to children (e.g. Masses, teachings, catechesis, devotions) especially by the use of social media.
16. Church Choirs and other liturgical ministers, whiles now not restricting their numbers, are to follow
strictly the minimum one (1) metre social distancing during their rehearsals and singing in church. They should also not use or vest in their liturgical garments until further notice.
17. We encourage churches to develop/ maintain prudent COVID-19 Mass schedules that promote and
permit the full observance of the protocols. Care must be taken such that in cases where there are concurrent masses on the same church compound, their closing times are not anticipated to be almost the same. Also; loitering about and unapproved gatherings on the church premise are discouraged.
18. The registration of congregants before Mass should remain as an essential practice. Leaders are to educate their congregants to support and sustain this.
19. We remind all pastors of souls that the introduction f anticipatory Masses remains an option to curb the congestion of the Sunday mass schedules.
20. \Y/e encourage pastors of souls and all care givers in the church to continue to pastorally care for the sick, the elderly, those currently experiencing psychological and financial crises as a result of COVID-19 and those who cannot attend Mass, but prudently be careful to protect both themselves and their wards.
We commend before our Lord and with gratitude from the Archdiocese, all those whose efforts and advice have contributed to achieve an appreciable level of COVID-19 protocol observance in the Archdiocese. Let us be guided by the principle that “a healthy mind lives in a heathy environment”. It is about our lives and faith!
We wish to take this opportunity to inform you that our beloved Archbishop, Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie, is responding well to treatment thanks to the grace of God. May this encourage us to pray ever more fervently for God to grant him full recovery. Finally, we entrust each and every one of you to the motherly protection of Our Lady of Good Health.
God bless you all.
Rev. Fr. John Kobina. LOUIS
Vicar general Accra Archdiocese
cc: Chancellor, Accra Archdiocese