Madang Resumes Normalcy after COVID-19
- Mr. Benny Bogg & Fr. Joseph Durero
Madang Province: High fist punching, low elbow touching, loud well-wishing and smiles all around is evidence that Madang Town Parishioners are happy to be together again, celebrating Holy Eucharist.
More sighs of euphoria echoed around the Cathedral when our Archbishop, Anton Bal announced that schools in Madang will be resuming classes on Monday 4th of May.
From the start, Government and Catholic Bishop’s Conference Covid-19 instructions did not really impact wholesome changes in Madang because people were unsure, and I guess, waiting for something to happen, like hell to break-lose, perhaps a death from the virus” says Archdiocese Madang Vicar General, Fr Joseph Durero.
The marked difference in our Parishes in contrast to others throughout PNG was our Archbishop Anton Bal who deeply discerned very well when he made the decision to temporarily STOP Eucharistic Mass in the church a little bit later compare to other dioceses.
While others in PNG stopped attending mass together – some on April 5th, others on 12 and 19 – we continued, said Fr. Joseph Durero.“ That is because the faithful keep on coming on Sundays. The Cathedral parish had an open door, despite the fact that we informed people not to come to Mass, we limit celebrating mass just for the two of us and a handful of teachers and their families who live on the school ground.”
“The numbers where down, but I had no heart to close the doors to them” - but the Archbishop eventually did on the 19thof April and had to welcome back our flock on the 28thof May.
Archbishop Anton instructed: “to joyfully announce that all Parish Churches in the Archdiocese of Madang be OPEN for Sunday and Week day Masses with careful observations of the protocols – Social Distancing and Hygiene at all times.”
It was the same with our schools. All Catholic Agency schools resumed classes on May 4thwith per instructions to “observe Covid-19’s 5-points of hygiene and that instruction has greatly scaled-down the teacher-student ratio per class to twenty at the most per day.
Holy Spirit Primary School Principal, Vincent Kabayah said: “ I am happy that most parents have expressed satisfaction with the new school teaching plan in respond to Covid-19.
“Changes include students attending only one day in class and alternate each week on the same day. Every student comes to class one day in a week and the rest of the week they get to do homework at their homes. ”he said.
It is our hope that normalcy in our schools returns on June 1st, both Mr. Kabayah and Fr. Durero agreed.