Central African archbishop asks clergy to withhold wine from communicants until the Coronavirus passes

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15th March 2020

My dear Church Fathers,

RE: PASTORAL LETTER IN THE FACE OF COVID-19

Lenten greetings to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

I am sure that you are following the news which is coming out daily about the Coronavirus pandemic as per the W.H.O declaration recently. I write to you all to encourage our Christians to take precautions for their and their families’ protection. Henceforth please ensure that all our churches are equipped with facilities, buckets and soap so that people can wash their hands thoroughly as part of observing tenets of personal hygiene. Further, there should be no contacts through hand- shakes and where possible, people should avoid large gatherings, unless it is absolutely necessary.

Many people have also asked about Holy Communion. I would encourage you all to withdraw the Chalice. People may receive the consecrated bread only, until when we see that that the Coronavirus has eased or been completely eliminated. Let us all do our part to protect ourselves and our congregants. More importantly my Church Fathers, work with the Ministry of Health in your respective Countries as they continue to provide information about the pandemic.

Pray for all those who are infected and the families who have lost their beloved ones due to the coronavirus pandemic. Please encourage our Clergy to take every precaution in the course of their priestly duties, particularly when visiting the sick, the elderly and those who come to them for various pastoral needs.

Yours in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ

++Albert Chama

Archbishop of Central Africa and Bishop of Northern Zambia