Ebola: Catholic Church Stops Placing Communion on Worshippers’ Tongues and Handshake

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The Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja on Sunday announced new procedures for worshippers at Masses to check likely spread of the Ebola virus.

The procedures which include the administration of the Holy Communion on the palm of the faithful as against placing it on the tongue of the recipient, was announced by Rev. Fr. Moses Jimbili, at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Nyanya.

Jimbili told parishioners at the church that the measure was a directive by the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, as check on the spread of Ebola disease.

Another change in the church’s practice was the stoppage of hand shake by worshippers done during consecration of the Holy Communion as sign of peace.

NAN also reports that Onaiyekan’s directive is contained in a statement issued by the Director of Social Communications in the archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Patrick Alumunku.

“Due to the prevailing national situation on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), I am directing that the following pastoral guidelines should be observed throughout our Archdiocese till further notice.

“The sign of peace should be omitted at Mass, Communion in the hand is highly recommended and should be encouraged (unless for those who insist on receiving on the tongue),” the statement quoted the Cardinal as saying.

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The cardinal also directed that special intercessory prayers should be offered during the holy mass against the spread of the virus.

Jimbili said, “You know some people sweat a lot and since one of the ways the virus can be transmitted is through sweating, it will be better to stop handshake so that one does not contract it.’’

He, however, advised worshipers to be prayerful over the Ebola scourge.

Speaking to NAN at the church, a worshiper, Tochukwu Ikwuazom, commended the diocese for the precautionary measure to curb the spread of the virus and urged Nigerians to pray to God to remove the disease from the country.

Credit: The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

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