On God, on whom my salvation and my glory depend; he is my protection and my refuge. Always trust Him, O people! Confess your sorrows to him. God is our refuge. (Psalm 62, 8-9)
Given the rapid progress of the pandemic situation in Portugal, which was seen in the last week and the recently made public government decisions, and the responsible exercise of religious and cult freedom that the Portuguese Constitution enshrines, the Executive Board of the Lusitan Church, meeting on 21 January 24, decided to suspend religious services and to close the Lusitanian Churches from Sunday January 24.
In a time of general confinement where a special duty to collect and consequential spirit of sacrifice is requested by all, this is understood to be the most prudent decision to be made, sustained on ethically and moral principles.
Given this situation, which we all regret and saddens us, the Executive Board urges all the people of the Church to renewed commitment to faith and life testimony, through prayer and daily biblical reading and the practice of daily liturgy book offices of Lusitan Church. The Diocese will continue to provide through digital platforms the Sunday broadcast at 10 am of the Morning Prayer as well as the Night Prayer meeting on Wednesdays 21 pm.
Currently, the Executive Board considers it to underline the exemplary behaviour of the different communities of the Church in compliance with the security and contingency plan established and followed since last May as well as the often sacrificial effort and delivery of the church clergy in its service to the people of God.
The worsening of the social crisis and consequent increase in human and material needs must all be redoubled and committed solidarity action. A complementary link between the various human and material resources existing within the Church at different levels is therefore necessary. Particular attention should be paid to the most vulnerable and isolated.
Church will naturally continue to provide funerals and support for any other pastoral need that may arise.
The decision to reopen temples will be taken in accordance with the favourable development of the pandemic situation in Portugal and the existence of conditions of safety and tranquility for all. We hope this can happen as soon as possible.
The Executive Board prays and asks God, our refuge in time of tribulation, for the Church, for our country and for the world, trusting His love and providing.Vila Nova de Gaia, January 21, 2021The Executive Board of the Lusitan Church