Faith Leaders: Light A Candle at Noon Every Wednesday for Covid-19
Faith leaders in the Western Cape have designated midday Wednesday of every week as a moment for the people of God to show their solidarity with those who have lost loved ones during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision follows a meeting between faith leaders and provincial government officials.
“Faith-based leaders took a decision to show solidarity with all who have lost lives or loved ones during the pandemic. Wednesdays at 12:00 was the time chosen,” Bishop Sylvester David, auxiliary in the archdiocese of Cape Town, said in a statement issued on Monday.
“All Catholics are requested to either light a candle or to observe a minute of prayerful silence” at noon on Wednesdays, he said.
“This could also be an opportunity to go back to the tradition of praying the Angelus,” Bishop David said, adding that the part of the Angelus prayer, “And the word became flesh”, reminds us “that Christ joined suffering humanity”.
The Western Cape government has made it “illegal to have the body in the Church during funerals—irrespective of whether it is a Covid-19 death or not”, the bishop noted.
Referring to provincial guidelines issued on July 17, the bishop added that during a Requiem Mass, “the hearse could be parked on the church property with the body inside while the funeral service takes place inside the church”. The final commendation, he suggested, could take place at the hearse, with attention to all the safety protocols.
“We appeal to all concerned to look at this with understanding as the situation does not change on a daily [but] on an hourly basis,” Bishop David said, adding that “the safety of persons is paramount”.
On Sunday, South Africa was reported to be the “fifth worst-affected” country globally regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. Until recently, the Western Cape was the country’s worst-affected province, and still records the highest death toll.
Bishop David also used his statement to urge priests to inform parishioners “from low-income households who need to develop some degree of self-sustainability” to collect seeds for their gardens from the local government’s department of labour.
“Parish priests can also have people in need registered as indigents at municipal offices and seek assistance for the ‘One Home One Garden Project’,” Bishop David said in the letter.
“Municipal water may not be used for this project, and explanations will be given on how to make gardening viable under these conditions.”
The meeting between the faith leaders and government officials follows a resolve by the Western Cape authorities to keep faith-based organisations and religious leaders informed of Covid-19 government interventions and communication messages to fight the pandemic in the province.
Following the first meeting between the faith leaders and Western Cape government officials on April 30, the religious leaders submitted their contributions on various issues including “regulations regarding funerals under the national lockdown…and a discussion around the consideration of essential services in these unprecedented times”.
The two parties also established a faith-based secretariat to assist with “regular communication”.—ACI Africa