COVID-19: CBCN orders Catholic priests to limit burial ceremonies to immediate families alone

By Victor Akuma

The outbreak of coronavirus has continued to ravage several sectors and not left out of the fray are religious organisations.

Nigeria has 35 cases of the virus as at the time of filing this report with fears the figure could rise in the coming days.

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This has left serval institutions unsettled while also posing a threat to religious bodies as the pandemic has largely led to disruption of their worship routines.

This was why the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), under the chairmanship of Most. Rev. Fr. Augustine Obiora Akubueze, Archbishop of Benin City, has resolved to make temporary changes to the activities of the church, nationwide.

In a two-page directive issued on Saturday, CBCN ordered reduction of all funeral services of members of the Catholic faith to only the immediate members of the bereaved families.

This, it said, was to ensure that the church aligns its objectives with that of the federal government to fight coronavirus.

This directive simply means that the church won’t entertain close friends of the dead, their co-workers and well wishers, no thanks to corona virus.

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Recall prior to this directive, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Lagos branch, had last week keyed into the idea of the state government, to stop religious activities of morethan 50 persons.

Other directives by the Bishops as announced by Very Rev. Fr. Amuluche-Greg Nnamani, the Vicar-General of Nsukka diocese and the Chaplain one  of St Peter’s Chaplaincy, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), during the church service on Sunday include; a suggested new means of distributing Holy Communion, precautions to be taken by Catholic health workers and the immediate closure of schools owned by the Catholic church in Nigeria.

These changes however, will be reversed as soon as a lasting solution is found to tame the widespread virus. Fr. Greg said.

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