Places of Worship to resume Services

2nd February 2021
FEAST DAY OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD

Dear Monsignor / Rev. Father / Deacons / Religious Brothers and Sisters in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg

Following the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the Feast day of Blessed Benedict Daswa (1 Feb) that level 3 lockdown restrictions will be eased to allow places of worship to resume services again. We welcome this news and I am looking forward to celebrating Holy Mass and the Sacraments with the People of God in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg.

We are mindful of the impact of Covid -19 in terms of the loss of life and of livelihood and are conscious of the continuing toll upon our society. Alongside this, I am conscious of our indebtedness to those in the medical, nursing and carinp professions for their contribution in facing the continuing challenge of our time.

Should any parishioner not feel comfortable to attend Mass or display any kind of ill health, kindly advise them to remain at home in prayer. The dispensation of the Catholic faithful from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays remains in effect.

Face masks and social distancing will be required for those attending Holy Mass. Parishioners will be required to sanitize their hands as they enter and leave the church building.
Attendance at Holy Mass will be limited to fifty (50) persons or less indoors and one hundred (100) persons outdoors.

Kindly note that:

  • Other Sacramental Rites can be celebrated provided the usual government protocols are observed.
  • Funerals – only fifty (50) people are allowed to be in attendance as per the government regulations.
  • Confessions should not be heard in small enclosed spaces (traditional confessionals) where social distance cannot be observed. Make use of a class/meeting room that can provide privacy and does not serve as a health hazard.
  • If the parish has a chapel for perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, priests should not resume full operations at this time. The enclosed spaces and difficulty of frequent disinfecting procedures as people enter and leave involve high risks that should not be undertaken.
  • Adoration and Benediction can take place in the main church, at set times, observing the protocols of distancing and the use of masks and the use of disinfecting protocols after the Benediction.
  • Meetings with small groups, including catechism can take place on the parish premises, provided the government protocols indicated are observed.
  • – RCIA — The Rite of Election that normally takes place on the First Sunday of Lent will NOT be celebrated this year.
  • I also ask that our priests personally avoid social gatherings where masks are not worn to protect their health.
  • The Covid -19 pandemic in its present form will pass. Soon we will look back on this time and see clearly that God was with us. Knowing this, we can turn to God today and ask Him to give us the discernment, compassion, and faith to make the right decisions for our churches at this time.

Let us now with caution and great joy open the doors of our churches in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg on the weekend of Sunday, 7* February 2021.

Thank you for your kind cooperation. May Our Blessed Mother Mary, continue to pray for our safety and health, as I keep you in my prayer.

Most Rev. Archbishop Buti Tlhagale OMI Catholic Archdiocese of Johannesburg

c.c Auxiliary Bishop Duncan Tsoke Fr. Paul Beukes OMI – Vicar General

Download the Archbishop’s letter here

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