Updated: May 08, 2021 09:38 AM GMT
Catholics attend a Marian devotion in front of Hanoi Cathedral on May 2. (Photo courtesy of tonggiaophanhanoi.org)
At least five dioceses in Vietnam have called on Catholics to restrict religious activities to contain a massive new coronavirus wave sweeping into many cities and provinces.
Father Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thang, head of the Office of Bac Ninh Bishop's House, said the fourth wave of Covid-19 that began on April 27 has reached many areas of the country. Locally transmitted infections have been detected recently in the diocese covering five provinces and part of Hanoi.
Father Thang called on local Catholics to take preventative measures advised by health authorities and to do pastoral ministries according to their situations.
The priest said in places where gatherings are banned at religious sites by the government, priests should only celebrate Masses for a few people and offer the liturgy of the Word many times in simple ways each day so that people can attend and stay clear of gatherings with high attendances. Priests and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion could administer the Eucharist to Catholics at their homes or residential areas.
"Churches in isolated areas should be open around the clock so that individuals and families go to say prayers, adore the Eucharist and recite rosaries to pray for humankind in the difficult time," he said on May 7.
Father Thang said old people, patients, Covid-19 suspects and those who are kept in quarantine or isolated areas should attend online services.
Local people should attend online Masses and pray to God to bless all people and stem the pandemic soon
He called on all people to daily pray, recite rosaries and Divine Mercy and especially pray to St. Joseph at their homes to save the world from the pandemic.
Father Paul Pham Thanh Thao, head of the Office of Da Nang Bishop's House, said the government had ordered cultural and religious activities and sports events to be suspended from May 4 in Da Nang and May 5 in the ancient town of Hoi An in Quang Nam province.
He said Bishop Joseph Dang Duc Ngan had asked local parishes to suspend all their religious services in the two places until further notice. Local people should attend online Masses and pray to God to bless all people and stem the pandemic soon.
He asked them to regularly wash their hands with disinfectants, wear face masks in public places, keep safe distances from others and steer clear of gatherings.
The Salesian prelate said local priests should decide whether to celebrate Sunday Masses or Solemnities according to local conditions.
He called on people to pay much attention to their health and if they have unusual health problems, they should report to authorities for medical treatment in time.
He said the new coronavirus wave has not been controlled yet, so people should limit their travel to public places.
Ha Tinh Diocese asked local people to suspend inessential religious activities
Father Joseph Vo Cong Tien, vicar general of Ba Ria Diocese, asked local priests to celebrate more Masses than normal on Sundays to meet the religious needs of Catholics after Ba Ria Vung Tau provincial officials asked for essential services to be held with maximum attendances of 50.
Ha Tinh Diocese asked local people to suspend inessential religious activities and clean church facilities and their houses.
The Southeast Asian country has reported 176 confirmed Covid-19 cases in 19 cities and provinces since the fourth wave was detected on April 27. Hanoi and Bac Ninh province alone have 72 and 26 cases respectively.
Some 24 cities and provinces have closed schools to protect students' health.