The prelate urges daily prayers and offers recommendations in a letter to pastors and priests. The measures are temporary until Easter.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Card Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, has reacted to the coronavirus outbreak with a “faith response” that includes recommendations for pastors and priests.
In his letter, the prelate calls for daily prayers that God may heal the people affected worldwide by the virus, for scientists to find a vaccine, and for authorities to take appropriate measures.
“The Corona Virus,” writes the cardinal, “is rapidly spreading, and at the moment of writing has affected seventy countries, including India. There is no sign that it has reached its peak and more deaths are being reported each day.
“I am sending this communication to all Parishes and Institutions in the Archdiocese of Bombay and after appropriate consultation will send a similar note to the Church in India.
“Our first faith response is to turn to God. I am enclosing a prayer to be said every day. An intention for this could be added in the Prayers of the Faithful.
“I am recommending the following steps for the control of the virus:
1 Encourage our people not to shake hands at the sign of peace but to greet each other with folded hands (namaste).
2 Encourage our people to receive Holy Communion in the hand.
3 On Good Friday, at the Veneration of the Cross, discourage people from kissing the Cross. The blessing with a raised Cross would be adequate. Those who desire, they could come in a queue make reverence with a bow and go back.
4 Before distribution of Holy Communion the Priest/Minister could purify their hands in a bowl of water/sanitiser.
5 Holy water stoops may be kept dry.
“Evidently, all these are temporary arrangements and will be reviewed from time to time. At the moment these Norms can be followed till Easter, 12 April 2020.
“If there is any indication that an individual in the community is infected, Parish Priests can temporarily suspend meetings of cells, sodalities, associations, etc.
“Do advise people not to panic. Government authorities are doing their best to face this challenge. All of us need to co-operate so we can combat this effectively.”
“Almighty and merciful God, who show your love to all creation everywhere, hear graciously the prayers we make for all those affected by the Corona Virus in various parts of the world.
We come before you asking for a quick control of the outbreak, for a healing of those affected, for the victims and their families.
We pray for the doctors doing research that an effective vaccine to combat the sickness is speedily found.
We pray for the Government and health authorities that they take appropriate steps for the good of the people.
We make his prayer through Christ Our Lord.”