In support of the government’s effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, a clergy has charged Christians to celebrate Passion Week in the confines of their homes.
Archbishop Tunde Adeleye, the Archbishop of the Anglican Communion, Calabar Diocese and Reverend Father Leonard Ojorgu, the Communications Director of the Catholic Ecclesiastical Province of Calabar made the appeal in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, southern Nigeria.
The clergy, who spoke in separate interviews, noted that the Passion Week, which commenced with the low-key celebration of Palm Sunday, urged Christians to abide by the directive of the Nigerian and Cross River governments and observe the events with their families.
Archbishop Adeleye stated, “it is unfortunate that this pandemic is happening at this time of the year. This is a very important period for the church. We need to juxtapose the scenario of the virus attack and Easter activities together. We are going to celebrate Easter in compliance with national and global regulations”.
“What this means is that we would not be celebrating Easter as usual. The fanfare, the visitation, the dancing, the singing, the grandeur and the glamour that comes with the period will be absent just this year. It is a communion service, but this year there will be no communion the way it used to be,” stated Adeleye.
According to Leonard Ojorgu, “we will still observe Mass, but this time around due to the directive from the State and Nigerian governments, we are not going to have the crowd. Faithful can stay at home and participate in all the liturgical activities for this season through the broadcast”
Ojorgu noted that the weeklong activities would be abridged as several events would be excluded in support of the fight to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“As a matter of fact, the aspect of the washing of the feet and other rigorous activities associated with the season are going to be cut off from the liturgy of this week because of COVID-19. The much that our people can have is the Holy Mass. But, they can observe the Stations of the Cross at home with their individual family members,” he said.
“Our people should use this week to pray fervently that through the celebration of Easter, peace, and healing should return to the world,” he appealed.
The clerics advised the people to imbibe good hygiene, support governments and global efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus as well as intensify prayers for healing.
“COVID-19 is a global problem and perhaps used by God to teach us how to be more humane. I am encouraging people to see this as a phase and as the saying goes, at the end of the tunnel, there is a light. They must never lose hope,” stated Ojorgu.
While on his part, Archbishop Adeleye advised “our traditional commonality can be temporarily suspended. It is natural for Africans to be communal, but we should try the best that we can to relate in such a way that it would not affect one another”.