Coronavirus, the diocese of Hong Kong suspends masses to avoid contagions
Card. Tong announces special pastoral measures. The only religious activities that will not be suspended are weddings and funerals. Parishes and chapels will remain open. The changes will also affect Lent and Easter.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - From the day after tomorrow and until February 28, the diocese of Hong Kong has decided to suspend the Eucharistic celebrations in churches and chapels to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. The government of the former British colony has declared that the next two weeks will be decisive in the fight against the epidemic: the population is invited to stay at home and avoid crowded places. In response to these directives this morning Card. John Tong, apostolic administrator of Hong Kong, issued a note announcing special pastoral measures.
The only religious activities that will not be suspended are weddings and funerals. Parishes and chapels will remain open; they can establish specific times of the day or week, in which to allow the faithful to adore the Blessed Sacrament and pray for the end of the emergency. The diocese offers two alternatives to participation in Sunday mass: follow the live online function, broadcast on the diocese's website, or meditate on the readings of the day and pray the Rosary.
In a separate notice, the diocese has published some notices regarding Lent and Easter. On February 26 - Ash Wednesday - there will be no public celebrations. Penitential practices such as the Via Crucis will not be conducted collectively. Finally, the celebration of the rite of the Christian initiation of adults will not take place at Easter but will be postponed to the solemnity of Pentecost (May 31).