The Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Castries, Bishop Michel Francis, calls on Sunday worshipers to put up with the current COVID-19 protocols a little longer to help reduce and improve the current situation on the island regarding the deadly virus.
As part of the COVID-19 protocols implemented by the government to curb the spread of the virus, a 24-hour lockdown is in place on Sundays, restricting the movement of people, including those who attend Sunday mass.
âHelp improve the current conditions by following the protocols and getting yourself vaccinated so that we can resume our Sunday religious services in a much safer and healthier environment,â Bishop Michel Francis said in a statement.
According to him, âCOVID-19 has dealt severe blows to our world, with serious diseases affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. But, unfortunately, we in Saint Lucia were not spared.
The fourth wave of the virus coupled with the Delta variant made the situation worse, and the health ministry has had to deal with more than 6,000 new cases of COVID-19 and several deaths since July 2021.
The Christian Council of Saint Lucia has contacted Prime Minister Philip J Pierre, who has expressed concern that Sunday worship is affected by the all-day curfew.
The Council had sought to have a window of a few hours on Sundays for services, but were told it was the same time as beach goers, river revelers, house parties and party planners in the villas organized their events.
As mentioned earlier, the Council has also been informed that the police are strapped for resources and cannot monitor all activities.
The Church has been called upon, under the circumstances, to be patient until conditions improve.
âThe Church has had to make similar sacrifices in the past. For Holy Week 2020, no religious service was open to the public. At the start of 2021, we had to face short hours of curfew that affected the hours of services, not to mention the many Sundays when we were only entitled to ten faithful, including the parish priest. Mandatory numbers at funerals and weddings have also been as low as ten people. “
The Episcopal Conference of the Antilles (bishops of the English-speaking, French-speaking and Dutch-speaking Caribbean), aware of the constraints imposed on Sunday worship, decided in 2020 to recognize the presence at mass during the week, replacing the obligation of parishioners at Sunday mass there. where the latter was no longer possible.
Since the lockdown, several religious organizations have resorted to online worship.