Health workers put Ebola patient, Father Miguel Pajares of Spain, into an ambulance Aug. 7 at a military air base in Madrid, after he was repatriated from Liberia for treatment. Ghana's bishops have urged the government to be extra vigilant in screening people who enter the country by sea for signs of Ebola. CNS photo/Ministry of Defence handout via Reuters

Nigerian archbishops suspend sign of peace to help prevent Ebola

By  Peter Ajayi Dada, Catholic News Service
  • August 12, 2014

LAGOS, Nigeria - In an effort to curtail the spread of Ebola, the Archdioceses of Lagos and Abuja instructed their priests to suspend all forms of physical contact during Mass, including the traditional sign of peace.

"Taking into consideration the fact that this rite is optional, we shall henceforth omit it, i.e., not invite people to offer the sign of peace. When you get to this rite, skip it," Lagos Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins said in a statement Aug. 10.

He said while holy water could be used in homes and offices, the fonts at church entrances should be emptied. He also encouraged the use of gloves when counting money from Mass collections.

He advised priests to use extra care when visiting the sick, especially when administering the sacrament of anointing of the sick. The archbishop also advised them "to avoid physical contact when giving out holy Communion."

Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan told journalists Aug. 10 that the Church was taking necessary precautionary steps to avoid the spread of the disease.

"We did not ban handshaking during Mass. We are only discouraging it, and it is going to be temporary until it is clear that Nigeria is no longer under Ebola threat," he said.

The World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency in West Africa Aug. 8 as the death toll from Ebola neared 1,000. Most deaths were in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, but two people have died in Nigeria, and more than 130 people were quarantined there because of suspected contact with the virus.

Ghana's bishops have urged their government to be extra vigilant in screening people who enter the country by sea, including fishermen who return to their families.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.