Reverend Father Ernest Dugah, the Parish Priest of St. Kizito Catholic Church, Nima, said the Church was maintaining the one hour duration mass, to prepare for the new directives on the easing of restrictions for Church activities.
Rev. Fr. Dugah said the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra had directed the Church to maintain the one hour duration for some time to get the confidence of other members and as well as encourage them to start coming to Church.
President Akufo-Addo on July 26, in his 14th address to the nation on the phase two of the easing of restrictions of Church activities, commended the leadership for adhering to 25 per cent occupancy or up to 100 congregants over a time duration of up to one hour per service over the past seven weeks.
In consultation with our Church leaders, the President has from August 1, 2020, review the restrictions on the number of congregants worshipping at a time in Church, with the length of worship extended from one to two hours per service.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, the Clergyman said Church leaders, who were desirous of implementing this enhanced easing directive, must ensure that congregants wore face masks at all times, and ensure that the one metre social distancing rule was scrupulously applied.
He said the Church was not in a rush to implement the new directives, but would wait and observed that proactive measures were put in place before the implementation.
Rev. Fr. Dugah said the Church would need to meet with the leadership of the various groups and if given the nod from the Archdiocese, with adequate measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic put in place, then the extended period will be utilized.
He said the Church started mass in the second week of the easing of restrictions to Churches and the appropriate measures to observe the COVID-19 health protocols have been put in place.
The Parish Priest said the Church in collaboration with the COVID-19 health team had ensured that the precautionary measures as prescribed by the World Health Organisation and the Ghana Health Service were adhered to for the safety of members.
He said the Church organised six masses with the one hour duration, adding that the number had progressively been increasing with each masses.
“The Church has not recorded any case of COVID-19.The temperatures of our members are all normal and we hope it will continue till the end of the pandemic,” he said.
He encouraged members who were yet to come to Church to do so saying, “We should not be afraid to come and worship. We need to have faith in God and believe that with consistent prayers, God will wipe out the pandemic from the face of the earth”.
A statement signed by Rev. Fr. John Kobina Louis, the Vicar General, Catholic Archdiocese of Accra, outlined new instructions for worship and urged congregants to be guided by the principle of “a healthy mind lives in a healthy environment”.
The Archdiocese commended all whose efforts and advice had contributed to the achievement of the COVID-19 protocol observance since it involved life and faith.
The statement urged all to observe the health protocols and noted that funeral masses or services must be restricted to a maximum of 100 people.