ASIA/PAKISTAN - The government announces the re-opening of Churches in Punjab: joy among the faithful
Tuesday, 19 May 2020
Faisalabad (Agenzia Fides) - "We are very happy for the announcement of the government of Punjab, which will allow the churches to reopen; however, we need some time to prepare everything: we must educate and sensitize the faithful on the procedures to be observed": says to Agenzia Fides Bishop Indrias Rehmat, at the head of the diocese of Faisalabad in the province of Pakistani Punjab. Bishop Rehmat also states: "As soon as we learned about the government's decision through mass media, we announced the news and allowed 30 people to enter and attend mass in the Cathedral. However, there are measures to be respected. Our people have been waiting for almost two months to participate again in the Holy Mass and now they rejoice because they can again receive the Eucharist. But we must continue to be cautious, because we do not want the assembly in church to be the cause of the spread of the virus". By respecting the provisions, the faithful will be able to return to the churches, notes the Bishop, and adds: "We await the written notification from the government. Next Sunday we will be able to celebrate two masses, each with 40 - 50 people in assembly. There is great joy among the people".
Fr. Qaisar Feroz OFM Cap, Executive Secretary of the Commission for Social Communications in the Catholic Bishops' Conference, speaking to Fides, says: "The news of the re-opening has been circulating in the mass media, but we await the written communication from the government of Punjab. The opening of Catholic churches depends on the general spread of the virus. We are happy, but we need everyone's collaboration to respect safety protocols and prevent any infections".
Fr. Asif Saleem, Catholic priest of Karachi, notes: "We appreciate the desire of the faithful to return to church, but protection and health are fundamental. We will celebrate the sacraments by observing the security measures". (AG-PA) (FULL TEXT Release from Agenzia Fides, 19/5/2020)
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