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Precautionary measures for liturgical celebrations

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands (CBC PNGSI) have taken precautionary measures for liturgical celebrations in light of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.


The liturgical instructions were issued in a press statement on 19th March by the Central Committee of CBC PNGSI and is for all churches to observe. It took effect on Sunday, 22nd March. 


According to the press statement, due to the regular assembly of large groups for the liturgical celebrations, there is a need to keep people safe as much as possible in dioceses, parishes, schools and groups.


The 11 liturgical instructions are as follows:

  1. Recommend everybody to frequently wash hands, and possibly make hand sanitizers available at entrances and around our churches, chapels and shared spaces. 

  2. Ensured that shared church and office surfaces and equipment, including microphones and vessels are kept clean use of disinfectant. 

  3. Temporarily empty Holy Water containers at church doors.

  4. Avoid physical contact at the Sign of Peace for the time being; rather offer a smile, nod or bow.

  5. Cease distribution of Holy Communion by Chalice for the time being; the priests at concelebrations communication by intinction. 

  6. Cease distribution of Holy Communion on the tongue for the being in order to transfer of saliva.

  7. Ensure that all Ministers of Holy Communion properly wash their hands or clean them with hand sanitizers after distributing Holy Communion; and avoid all skin to skin contact. 

  8. If anyone has travelled abroad or has been in contact with a coronavirus affected place or person within the last 14 days, remain away from Mass as a precaution. Their Sunday Mass obligation will be met by a time of prayer at home. 

  9. At the Good Friday Liturgy, on 10thApril, there will be no kissing of the crucifix. A blessing with the cross will suffice.

  10. The traditional Way of the Cross on Good Friday will be held at parish and/or community level. No massive Way of the Cross for this year. 

  11. Confessions may be hear with some form of barrier, such as an open door, between the penitent and the priest, without any surfaces which might be touched by the penitent’s hands. 


Meanwhile, the office of the Archbishop of Port Moresby announced on 23rd March the suspension of daily masses and Sunday masses throughout the Archdiocese. The suspension took effect on 24th March and will continue to 6th April. Other dioceses have also issued circulars on precautionary measures and restrictions following the directives of the National Government and CBC.

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