Christians of the various denominations have been urged to observe low key celebrations of Easter Sunday, in respect to the measures put in place by the government to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
Heads of various denominations have been taking measures to ensure they observe the Holy Week leading to Easter Sunday in strict respect of these measures in place.
It is the case with the Archbishop of Yaounde His Lordship Jean Mbarga who has called on Christians in his Archdiocese to use the holy week as a period to reflect and pray over the health challenges faced by Cameroon and the world at large.
His Lordship Jean Mbarga made the call on Tuesday, April 7 during a press conference at the Yaounde Metropolitan Cathedral to tell Christians how to celebrate Easter amidst the COVID-19.
Most parishes in the Archdiocese have remained closed in respect to government measures to avoid large crowds as a means to fight the spread of the virus.
With Easter, a key feast in the church, approaching, Mgr Jean Mbarga was keen to clear the air on how it will be celebrated at various parishes in the Archdiocese.
To the prelate, it is first and foremost the personal relationship between the Christian and God and thus called on all to continue praying at home as they have been doing.
This, he said is applicable for the Holy Thursday, Friday and Saturday as he stressed it is important to continue to respect the measures put in put by the government.
However, he said priests who desire to celebrate mass on Easter Sunday at their various parishes should take the necessary dispositions to ensure they respect the social distancing and not exceed 50 persons as recommended by government.
“They can celebrate as many masses as possible with various groups so as to avoid the crowd,” Mgr Jean Mbarga said.
For the moment, celebration of the Holy Week as well as the Lent period in general has been low key in parishes in the Archdiocese due to the prevailing health situation. The regular station of the cross as well as masses have been cancelled in several parishes while the sacrament of baptism administered at Easter will not take place this year at several parishes.
The Archbishop however, urged Christians to keep their faith in God and the storm will be over in the nearest future.
PCC, Baptist Church Also Taking Measures
The Presbyterian Church in Cameroon has equally taken measures to ensure there are low-key celebrations in respect to the measures put in place by the government to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
According to Reverend Nicodemus Aniatah, assistant Parish Pastor of PCC Bastos, they have been holding services every 5am during the lent period with just a small group of Christians while respecting the various measures in place.
Here, church services have been readjusted to take just fifty Christians per service and that was the case with the celebrations on Palm Sunday.
However, since it was a communion service, pastors stayed back in church and served communion to Christians who could not take part in the various church services on Sunday.
Like Palm Sunday, the PCC Bastos have scheduled three services for Easter Sunday while there will be infant baptism, Reverend Aniatah said. However, adult baptism has been pushed forward to a later date, he added.
He said the church will make available water, soap and hand sanitizers at the entrance to the parish for Christians to wash their hands before getting in.
At the Menda Baptist Church of the Cameroon Baptist Convention in Bamenda, religious ministers are equally conscious of the current situation and have also taken measures.
The Chairman of the National Ministers Fellowship of the CBC, Reverend David Ambola said they have been observing the Holy week at the Multipurpose Hall for better spacing instead of the church hall. The church has advised children should come to church if only they are accompanied by their parents or an adult. For Easter Sunday, they have also taken measures to provide water, soap and hand sanitizers at the entrance of the church hall.