Bishop's Message

One thing I ask of the Lord. This I long to dwell in the house of the Lord,
all the days of my life.

A Pastoral Guideline Issued by Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, on the the Coronavirus Pandemic on 23 March, 2020
2020-04-01

 

Introduction

Most of us have followed media reports on the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) in many countries, including Nigeria. The Holy Father Pope Francis, Episcopal conferences, some dioceses, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Heads of governments of different nations have come out with directives on how people are to protect themselves and others against the virus. After much prayer, reflection and consultation, I consider it my obligation to issue some pastoral guidelines in these difficult times, taking into consideration the situation of things in our Diocese.

1. General Precautionary Measures

Awareness should be intensified in our parishes, religious houses and institutions on the precautionary measures to be taken to curb the spread of Covid-19, such as frequent hand washing with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds each time or regular use of sanitisers; avoiding the touching of the mouth, nose and eyes; observing physical distancing of 2 meters or six feet; avoiding crowded places; observing self-isolation, especially by those above 60 years and/or those with underlying medical conditions; regular drinking of hot/warm water and avoiding cold drinks.

2. Guidelines on the Celebration of Holy Mass and other Sacraments

 

-To avoid crowded congregations, efforts should be made to celebrate Holy Masses in small groups. This may involve the celebration of more Masses in a parish.

-The duration of Holy Mass should not exceed 30 minutes on weekdays and 1 hour on Sundays.

- The offering of the sign of peace could be in the form of a simple bow, smile or wave of hands. There should be no physical contact.

- Before and after the distribution of Holy Communion, the minister is to wash his hands with soap and water.

- In the distribution of Holy Communion care should be taken to avoid touching the recipient.

- In the event of contact of the finger of the minister with the body of a recipient, the minister is to wash his hands with water and soap before continuing.

- Physical distancing should be observed in the sitting arrangement, reception of Holy Communion and in the offering of gifts

 

- Baptisms could be suspended, excepting in the danger of death.

- In the anointing of the sick and candidates for baptism, priests are to dip a piece of cotton wool into Holy Oil and after anointing dispose of it appropriately. They are to use sanitizers before and after each administration of these Sacraments.

- Marriages could be suspended during this health emergency period, and if it must hold, participants at the wedding should be limited to the immediate families of the couple(s).

- Participants at funeral Masses are to be highly restricted.

- The use of Holy Water fonts are to be suspended.

 

3. Administrative and Social Guidelines

 

-Parishes are advised to prepare for financial emergencies. This means they must ensure some reasonable savings by suspending non-urgent expenditures.

 -The Covid-19 pandemic makes it necessary for Catholics to exercise Corporal Works of Mercy.

 - Parishes and organizations are encouraged to establish platforms [such as groups of volunteers] to mobilize and organize help for the indigent during this period of crisis.

- The frequency of general meetings of Church organizations and sodalities should be drastically minimized and if they are to hold should be brief and all precautionary measures observed.

- Church health institutions are encouraged to prepare for emergencies by providing safety gears for their personnel and other necessary care for infected persons.

- People are urged to avoid handshaking and hugging during this period of health emergency.

 

Conclusion

 

In these perilous times in our life, as a people of faith we need to heed to the exhortation of Jesus to His Apostles: “Do not be afraid. Trust in God and trust in me” (Jn 14:1). Accordingly, we urge individuals and families to recourse to the intercessory power of Our Blessed Mother Mary, Helper of the Afflicted, by the daily recitation of the Rosary for God to intervene and rescue us during these dark and difficult moments.

 

 

Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji

Bishop of Umuahia Diocese

LITURGICAL CALENDAR

UPCOMING EVENTS

Msgr. John Loyd Ukaegbu 60th Priestly Anniversary

Date: 2022-07-29 -

There will be a diocesan celebration for the 60th Priestly Anniversary of the first ordained Catholic Priest in the diocese of Umuahia, Monsignor John Loyd Ukaegbu, on the 29th of July 2022 at Mater Dei Cathedral, beginning with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist by 10am. Other activities will follow at the Jubilee hall immediately after the Mass.

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About Us

logoThe Diocese of Umuahia was erected on June 23, 1958 with Most Rev. Anthony Gogo Nwaedo C.S.Sp. as its first Bishop and Most Rev Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji as the second Bishop. The diocese was carved out from the then Diocese of Owerri. Since its inception, two other dioceses: Okigwe (1981) and Aba (1990) have been excised from it. Its present area of about 2,460.40km2 spans six Local Government Areas: Umuahia North, Umuahia South, Ikwuano, Bende, Ohafia and Arochukwu.

Contact Us

  • umuahiabishopsec@gmail.com
  • vicargeneral@umuahiadiocese.org
  • 088-220364, 222259, 08035080682.
  • Diocesan secretariat, 57 Azikwe Road, P.O Box 99, Umuahia. Abia State, Nigeria.