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Myanmar's Diocese of Pathein issues guidelines against coronavirus spread

Bishop John Hsane Hgyi of the Diocese of Pathein in Myanmar facilitates the meeting that came up with the guidelines for the clergy and the faithful on March 26.

Bishop John Hsane Hgyi of the Diocese of Pathein in Myanmar has issued guidelines for the clergy and the faithful to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus disease.

The prelate issued the guidelines following an urgent meeting on March 26.

The following is the full text of the guidelines translated into English.

“These Guidelines came out following the meeting, facilitated by Bishop John Hsane Hgyi, at the Bishop’s House on March 26. It aims to guide priests, the religious, brothers, nuns, catechists, and the laity of the Diocese of Pathein on how to conduct themselves in the coming days.

1. From March 30 to April 30, all parishes in the Diocese of Pathein will not hold public Masses with parishioners. There will also be no liturgical services in churches.

2. A priest or priests can celebrate the Holy Mass but without the faithful in attendance. Parishioners are to hear Mass in spirit from their places or homes.

3. The faithful can hear the Holy Mass of Bishop John Hsane Hgyi and listen to his Daily Gospel Reflection, Recitation of the Holy Rosary, and Homily on the online services of Radio Veritas Asia.

4. If coronavirus-infected patients or unsuspected patients and the elderly require Holy Sacraments, parish priests have to administer them in proper ways following health protocols. Parish priests are to coordinate with local authorities and comply with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health.

5. If a funeral service of a not-infected person is required, the service can be held but without bringing the dead to the church. It has to be done in accordance with the ritual. The burial should be attended only by a few family members.

6. The Chrism Mass will not be celebrated during Holy Week this year. An appropriate day will be announced later.

7. The bishop himself will preside the Holy Mass on these important days through the Radio Veritas Asia - Pwo Karen Online Service and OSC Pathein Channel Online Live.

- Palm Sunday Mass at 7 a.m.
- Maundy Thursday Mass at 5 p.m.
- Good Friday liturgy at 5 p.m.
- Holy Saturday Mass at 7 p.m.
- Easter Sunday Mass at 7 a.m.

8. Churches and Adoration Chapels are to be opened only at designated times for parishioners to make the Eucharistic Adoration.

9. Catholic leaders are encouraged to contact with their flocks daily through phone calls or other means of communication. Personal face-to-face contacts with the faithful are not allowed due to the current health crisis.

10. Everyone is encourage to comply with the guidelines of the respective regional, district, township, quarter, village administrators, and the Ministry of Health.

N.B. These Guidelines are based on the following:

1. Guidelines of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar (CBCM)
released on March 16 2020.
2. DECREE in Time of COVID-19, Prot. N 153/20 on March 19, 2020 from
the Vatican.
3. Guidelines released from some Arch/dioceses in Myanmar.
4. Guidelines of Bishop of the Diocese of Pathein.”



Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.