Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, with a heavy heart I have to address another circular within two days to you regarding the COVID-19 and the situation in Lagos State. Yesterday, we had been able to ascertain that the restriction of people to gather together for worship was for not more than fifty. We have heard today that the number has been reviewed downwards to not more than twenty by government. This has made our arrangement to see how we could manage to still get Mass for as many as possible now literally impracticable.
With deep regrets we are constrained to direct that Mass with the faithful in attendance is to be suspended for the next four weeks. Mass is not suspended as priests will continue to offer Mass for the people and the whole world, what has been suspended is Mass with the faithful in attendance.
We urge the faithful to view this situation in the light of the fact that we are fighting a war, a war with an invisible deadly enemy with weapons that are very dangerous to human life. We know that God is able to deal with it for us just as he fought for the People of Israel. That is why we had thought we could still gather as a Community of Faith within the ambit of the government directives, to pray to God pleading the Blood of Christ as we celebrate Mass.
Meanwhile we urge you to spend the Sunday as a holy day. You may make an altar with a crucifix and possibly candle light, if you do not have one already, read the Readings for the day, share the word of God with one another, pray the Rosary and the “Prayer for an End to the Coronavirus Pandemic”. Do take time to tune to Lumen Christi Television Network on DSTV Channel 350 and EWTN, DSTV Channel 348 so that you may follow the Mass and them make an Act of Spiritual Communion which is as follows:
ACT OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things
and I desire to receive you into my soul.
Since I cannot receive You sacramentally now,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
We shall continue to monitor the situation and discern what we must do in order to support ourselves as we face this present challenge that has been foisted on us. We should take this as a sacrifice that we must make and ask God to accept it as our prayers for his intervention. In the days to come, we shall reflect more on the situation and discern what more we must do.
We urge Parish Priests to endeavor to pass on this new development to their parishioners with the assurance that we shall continue to find ways and means of ensuring that their faith continues to be nourished and that we support ourselves in dealing with this present challenge
Be glad in hope, constant in tribulation, persevering in prayer. (Romans 12:12).
Ab omni malo: Libera nos Domine!
+Alfred Adewale MARTINS
Archbishop of Lagos
March 21, 2020
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