12/24/2020, 10.32
INDIA
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Maharashtra limits number of Christmas masses over 'English Covid'

by Nirmala Carvalho

The directive was issued yesterday. No more than 50 participants for each liturgical service; over 60 and children under 10 must stay at home. Card. Gracias, with a video message, asks the priests to reschedule the Masses: to increase their number and reduce their duration. Many prefer online participation. But the government gives go ahead to open to parks, tourist sites and sports centers...

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Following the discovery of the "English strain" of the Covid-19 coronavirus, the Maharashtra government yesterday issued a circular asking Christian communities to celebrate Christmas and the New Year in a simple and low-key fashion.

It also gave precise indications that adults over 60 and children under 10 cannot participate in Christmas masses. The government has also established a limited number for the celebrations: no more than 50 participants.

Yesterday in the evening and in great haste, the archbishop of Mumbai, Card. Oswald Gracias, issued a video message to the priests urgently asking them to reschedule the hours of mass, following the instructions of the interior ministry.

"One possibility - said the cardinal - is to increase the number of masses, hold shorter liturgical services and have shorter intervals between one and the other. If there are spaces available, you can also hold several in different rooms at the same time. Stagger the start and end of mass to avoid crowds at the entrance and exit".

Some churches immediately increased the number of masses available; others, however, have completely canceled the liturgical service in presence, diverting to the online one.

Mount Mary Basilica in Bandra has decided on two masses on the eve, at 7 and 8 pm, and for 6 masses on Christmas Day, including one at 5.30 pm.

However, many are somewhat perplexed: the same day in which indications were given to limit Masses, the government gave permission to reopen amusement parks, gardens, sports centers, tourist sites, ...

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