12/15/2020, 16.17
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Christmas: Jakarta archdiocese limits church capacity to 20 per cent, tells faithful not to travel

by Mathias Hariyadi

The Archdiocese of Jakarta urges Catholics not to visit family but to celebrate Christmas at home. In so doing, “we are showing our commitment to celebrate this Christmas with simplicity without endangering or harming other people with our presence”.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Christmas is approaching. For many Indonesians, this is usually the best time of the year to travel and visit family and hometowns.

For many Jakarta residents, it is also a time for a traditional exodus towards various cities in Java; and for some wealthy people, it is equally a time for a trip abroad for leisure and family reunions.

However, this year the COVID-19 pandemic has affected much of Central Java and East Java, with some cities marked as “red zones”.

In view of the situation, the Catholic Church in Jakarta issued a friendly advisory to Catholics to cancel any plans to travel or visit relatives in their hometowns.

Fr Adi Prasojo, secretary general of the Archdiocese of Jakarta (Keuskupan Agung Jakarta, KAJ), yesterday released a pre-recorded video message.

In it, he says: “This year, let's celebrate our Christmas with simplicity” for it is “our social responsibility to curb the massive spread of the deadly virus”.

For the Archdiocese, by celebrating Christmas at home and not travelling to visit family, “we are showing our commitment to celebrate this Christmas with simplicity without endangering or harming other people with our presence” since people can unknowingly carry and spread the virus.

Church attendance limited to 20 per cent capacity

This Christmas people will be able to be present in archdiocesan churches in person and virtually.

The archdiocese will strictly apply the health protocol regarding physical presence during celebrations. “The maximum capacity in each church will not exceed 20 per cent,” said Father Prasojo. Social distancing and wearing masks will be enforced.

“A strict health protocol will come into effect not only for churchgoers, but also for priests, altar assistants and altar boys,” the priest explained.

In some parishes, some people will be able to be physically present in church during Mass.

COVID-19 tally (as of 13 December):

• Indonesia: 623,309 cases, 510,957 recovered, 18,856 deaths

• West Java: 66,810, 55,129, 1,072.

• Jakarta: 154,000, 139,000, 2,950.

• East Java: 70,634, 60,980, 4,920.

• Central Java: 67,496, 45,171, 2,651

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