The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
UCA News

Japan

Tokyo Archdiocese suspends public Masses over Covid-19

Archbishop Isao Kikuchi issues directive suspending liturgical rite until March to avoid spreading coronavirus

UCA News reporter, Tokyo

UCA News reporter, Tokyo

Updated: February 26, 2020 06:49 AM GMT
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Tokyo Archdiocese suspends public Masses over Covid-19

Pupils of Ariake-nishi Gakuen Elementary School wear face masks during an event on Feb. 25 marking six months until the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Share this article :
In response to the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Japan, Tokyo Archdiocese has announced the suspension of public Masses from Feb. 27 to March 14.

Archbishop Isao Kikuchi issued a directive on Feb. 25 to suspend public Masses, except for small communities, for two weeks from the day after Ash Wednesday.

The archdiocesan policy is in response to the Japanese government’s basic policy for measures to protect against the outbreak of Covid-19 that sought reconsideration of holding large gatherings. The Japan Professional Football League, or J-League, has postponed all matches until March 15.

As of Feb. 25, 160 people in Japan had been infected and one had died. This number does not include 691 confirmed cases on the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess. Confirmed cases in the northern island of Hokkaido and Tokyo have each exceeded 20 infected patients.

“It is not easy for the Church to make this decision to suspend Masses, which should be offered daily,” Archbishop Kikuchi said in his statement, asking for people’s understanding of the gravity of the situation that led to such a decision.

“Recalling the words of our Lord commanding ‘Do this in memory of me’ would lead us to think that the suspension of the Mass is for us a spiritual defeat. We must offer more prayers than usual during this time of crisis.”

All the faithful in the Archdiocese of Tokyo will be exempted from their obligation to attend Sunday Masses on March 1 and 8. “I recommend everyone find time to read the Bible and offer prayers,” Archbishop Kikuchi said.

The archdiocese is looking at the possibility of broadcasting Masses via the internet. “In such a case, I encourage participation by viewing the live Mass in the act of spiritual communion,” the archbishop said.

Unless there is a major change in the situation, the Mass suspension will be lifted after March 15. In that case, the archbishop asked that Catholics continue to take note of measures recommended in earlier advisories issued by the archdiocese on Jan. 31 and Feb. 20.

Sapporo Diocese, which covers Hokkaido, has issued the same instruction and the 14 other dioceses in Japan are expected to soon issue directives about the cancellation of Sunday Masses.

Support UCA News...

UCA News provides a unique service, bringing you the voices of emerging churches and helping you see efforts made to evangelize and bring relief to people in all manner of need.

UCA News has more than 40 full time and part time reporters, editors and administrators bringing you this service from across 23 countries in south, southeast and east Asia. You, too, can be part of their efforts by contributing even a small amount to keep UCA News available to the world.
Click here to consider the options available to you.

Your contribution to UCA News will immensely help us continue to grow a strong media community by harnessing information technology to inform, engage, inspire and influence the Catholics of Asia and the world.

As a gesture of our gratitude to your commitment to UCA News, we are pleased to gift you a free PDF Book/e-Book titled Mission in Asia when you make a contribution.

UCA News Donate
UCA Newsletter
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
UCAN Ad
 
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution