KENYA CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS Guidelines
RE: PREPAREDNESS FOR CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Receive Lenten greetings and best wishes from KCCB- General Secretariat.
We are all aware of the great threat of the Coronavirus (Covid 19) pandemic that has recently spread across the entire world.
So far, this disease has caused 4,600 deaths the world over.
With one case confirmed in Kenya, we ought to be in a state of preparedness, so that further spread of the infection may be easily contained.
Following the indications already given by the experts, this virus is mainly spread through contact of droplets of mucus, through the mouth, eyes and nose.
We, the Catholic Bishops, wish to give some guidance so that our Liturgical celebrations and other related gatherings do not facilitate any incidental spread of the Coronavirus as follows:
1. We strongly exhort the Priests to observe the highest level of hygiene in the Liturgical ceremonies. Specifically, we ask them to thoroughly wash their hands worth soap and water before any Liturgical celebration, and to use soap in the lavado rite of the Mass to ensure total cleanliness as they come in contact with the bread and wine.
2. In giving Holy Communion to the sick, the Priests should observe high level of hygiene, of washing of hands before and after the Holy Communion or Anointing of the Sick, to avoid any infection to the sick or from the sick.
3. Similar strict measures should be followed especially before carrying out any assistance on the Alter by the servers and any extraordinary minister who comes in contact with the Liturgical items or Eucharistic species.
4. For the time being, we may be constrained to remove temporarily the Holy Water from the water fonts. However, Christians may carry Holy Water for use in the homes, and even for personal use as they pray.
5. Although we recognize the importance of the hand greetings in our culture, in view of the risk posed by handshakes, we request that, while this threat is still real, we advise the Christians to wave to one another during the exchange of peace in the daily celebration of Mass.
6. We encourage any person who suffers from a cold to voluntarily abstain from the Holy Mass celebrations until they recover.
7. We recognize the desire of many Christians to receive the Eucharist with utmost piety, often on the mouth.
In the current circumstances, and weighing the eventual risk, we request that the Faithful receive the Eucharist on the hand with due reverence.
This will continue until the threat of the virus is abated.
8. We also urge the Christians to follow the indications of prevention of spread of the virus, as we have been given by the health authorities of the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization.
Firstly, we appeal to you to observe the highest level of hygiene, by washing your hands with soap as often as possible.
We encourage wherever possible to provide Sanitizers in strategic places, in our Church areas, our meeting halls and Parish offices, for use by our Faithful.
Secondly, we appeal to you to be open to reduce our shaking of hands, even though we know this could seem to mean a loss of warmth in our relations, but charity now dictates that we care more to prevent our sisters and brothers from any danger of infection.
Thirdly, we appeal to you to cover your mouths and nose when you cough or sneeze, even when alone, to avoid infecting surfaces or items we use.
9. Common good dictates that should anyone suffer a flu, that they go to the health facilities to monitor and to be able to catch any incidental infection on time.
10. As we recognize the imminent danger of this pandemic, we, however, request that we avoid any tendencies or attitudes of discrimination and stigmatization of the affected persons.
Our dear Christians, we know that some of these measures will interrupt our liturgy sensitivity, and our customs as Catholics, but it is necessary to take them, given the high risk our hesitation may expose us all.
Finally, we invite all Christians to pray for the end of this pandemic.
We ask that we raise prayers to God through the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and through Novenas to the various patron Saints.
We believe our Lord will hear our prayers and save our Nation and our world from this menace.
Signed for and on behalf of the Chairman,
Very Rev. Fr. Daniel K. Rono
General Secretary of KCCB
For: Most Rev. Philip Anyolo
CHAIRMAN OF KCCB