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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Church in Congo suspends sacraments during Ebola outbreak

The Catholic Church in Congo said emergency measures will remain indefinitely in place in parishes at risk of Ebola, and urged effective action against the disease by the government of President Joseph Kabila.

“Although Masses are continuing, sacraments such as Baptism and Confirmation have had to be suspended,” said Mgr Jean-Marie Bomengola, secretary of the Church’s Social Communications Commission.

“Since we can’t foresee how the disease will develop, we can’t set out any timescale. But the crisis needs real containment measures, and we’re counting on the government to provide them,” he said.

Health care workers toiled to head off a feared epidemic in the Equateur province in northwest Congo, where at least 25 people have died of the almost-always fatal disease.

Mgr Bomengola told Catholic News Service that at least 1,000 people had been vaccinated and that measures were in place to prevent “any personal contact” among Catholics.

“All precautions are being taken to ensure people don’t come too close. It’s a highly abnormal situation,” he said.

Picture: A World Health Organisation worker administers a vaccination on 21st May during the launch of a campaign aimed at beating an outbreak of Ebola in Mbandaka, Congo. (CNS photo/Kenny Katombe, Reuters).