A day after the government ordered Kenyans to pray at home in a bid to tame the spread of coronavirus, the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru has suspended daily masses indefinitely.
On Monday, the daily mass at the Christ the King Cathedral was cancelled until further notice.
On Sunday, the cathedral held six masses spread-out for one hour each from 7am to 1pm in a bid to reduce congestion.
During the Sunday service, only four worshippers were allowed to sit on one bench.
PRAY AT HOME
The church has a seating capacity of 1,300 people but on Sunday, less than 300 were allowed in each mass.
However, on Monday, the Acting Parish Administrator Father Collins Maribong camped outside the church entrance in the morning asking early faithful to return home and pray. Only staff were allowed to enter the church compound.
“Following the directive and guidelines from the Ministry of Health, on rapid spread of coronavirus, daily mass at Christ The King Cathedral and all small meetings have been suspended until further notice,” said Fr Maribong.
However, Bishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba, several priests based at the headquarters and a number of nuns converged at the church and held the mass alone in the church.
Meanwhile Bishop Abraham Gitu of the Apostolic Faith Church has supported the government’s directive to ban gatherings in all places of worship.
“This should not be taken as persecution by the government, instead it should be taken positively because what is happening in Italy should be big lesson for Kenya,” said Bishop Gitu. Many coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Italy.
He said even during the ancient times there were serious diseases such as leprosy and people were isolated.
“The Book of Deuteronomy 13 states clearly about the need to take precautions against diseases and that is why it is always said cleanliness is second to godliness,” said Bishop Gitu.
Bishop Gitu called on church leaders to be on the frontline to create awareness among their faithful to comply with the government directives to fight the spread of coronavirus that has killed thousands of people globally.
“Churches should not look at the finances they get from their worshipers because should there be an economic recession, it will affect all Kenyans across the board, the church will not be spared either,” said Bishop Gitu.
He added: “Whether the church leaders like it or not, offertories, tithe and other donations in the church will reduce as long as the coronavirus fears is here with us. Many factories are closing down and manufacturers are sending workers home and this means reduced earnings to millions of Kenyans.”