The Catholic Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese Camillus Etukudoh has directed Catholic Churches in Rivers State not to hold any mass on Easter Sunday.
Camillus Etukudoh in a statement called on Catholic faithful in Rivers State to maintain the earlier guidelines of celebrations for the Holy Week including Easter Sunday till further notice.
The Governor of Rivers State NYESOM WIKE had on Thursday temporarily relaxed the ban on large religious gatherings in the state.
The Governor during a broadcast directed religious leaders to have their worship with their full congregation on Easter Sunday.
The Easter celebration is the most important ceremony in Christendom which marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Camillus Etukudoh in a statement said the decision to maintain the earlier guidelines was due to the threats of COVID-19 and the implications of the risks to the expected crowded congregation.
The Bishop while commending the Governor for relaxing the ban on large religious gatherings also thanked the priests and Catholic faithful for adhering so far to the Diocesan directives for the celebration of the Holy Week.
“We deeply appreciate the State-wide broadcast of the Governor of Rivers State, on Holy Thursday, April 9, 2020, during which he relaxed the restrictions on large gathering for Sunday, April 12, 2020, to have their full congregation for Easter celebrations”.
“However, in the face of the threats of COVID-19 and having prayerfully considered the implications of the risks to our expected crowded congregation on normal Easter Sunday celebrations, we hereby request you our priests and lay faithful to continue to keep to the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria CBCN and our Diocesan Pastoral directives/guidelines for the celebrations Holy Week including Easter Sunday till further notice”.
The Catholic Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese Camillus Etukudoh also prayed for the Almighty God to hear the prayers of Christians during this Holy Week celebrations and heal the world of COVID-19.