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Haiti - Health : Religious rally and preventive measures against Covid-19
05/03/2020 10:28:23

Haiti - Health : Religious rally and preventive measures against Covid-19
The Episcopal Conference of Haiti (CEH) gathered at the headquarters of the Conference of Bishops of Haiti, on March 4, around notably the holding of religious assemblies in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic present in 85 countries in the world and a case is confirmed in the Dominican Republic https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30165-haiti-flash-first-case-of-covid-19-in-the-dominican-republic.html , suggests in a note, a set of preventive measures for gatherings in parishes, chapels, Catholic schools and other ecclesial institutions in the country.

Preventive measures of the CEH :
"1) We ask priests, leaders of the faith community, members of Consecrated Life, to protect themselves personally and to help protect themselves all those who are under their jurisdiction. The hygiene and prevention measures recommended by health authorities can save lives. We suggest that they avoid trips that are not essential. We also invite them to raise awareness in their institutions, by all means at their disposal, after having verified the source and the credibility of the information. It is one of the ways to combat disinformation;

2) We ask the leaders of communities of faith and ecclesial institutions to avoid assemblies or meetings that could have more than 3000 people in a closed space. Each diocesan bishop could decide whether to hold the Way of the Cross exercises in the streets this year. We know that this event of faith ordinarily drains tens of thousands of the faithful on Good Friday;

3) At the doors of churches, at the entrance and exit of rallies, we ask those responsible, as much as possible, to make available to the faithful products to disinfect hands, such as "sanitizers". Greetings with hugs and handshakes should also be avoided before, during and after celebrations or meetings. In churches and chapels where there are fixed holy water fonts, it is highly recommended to remove the water as soon as this note is published;

4) The gesture of the "Kiss of Peace" at mass or in other celebrations, could be summed up as a bow to the head without more or less, without accolade;

5) For Holy Communion and its distribution, we ask that only the President of the celebration communion at the chalice. Concelebrants can do without it until further notice;

6) If there are extraordinary ministers of the distribution of Holy Communion who must help the president of the celebration, they must be given communion in the hand and only in the body of Christ; themselves must give communion to the faithful in their hand while keeping the marks of veneration and respect towards the Blessed Sacrament. Sentries from the faith community must be vigilant to ensure that the consecrated host, Body of Christ, is consumed immediately by the communicant;

7) Avoid the stigmatization of people because of their geographic origin. It is up to the legally constituted public authorities to make the necessary decisions in this matter;

8) All of the above instructions and preventive measures also apply to all of our Catholic schools, proportionally;"

The CEH invites all the Catholic faithful and Christians in general to pray for the sick and the nursing staff of all national health institutions; we entrust the country and all its inhabitants to the intercession of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, patron saint of Haiti, the latter who had already saved us from the smallpox epidemic.

This note will remain in effect throughout the period when the epidemic continues to ravage the world, and especially in the West Indies where many countries are already infected with the virus.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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