In the fight against the spread of the coronavirus, the diocese in Hong Kong has decided to suspend all public Masses for two weeks.
“The next two weeks will be a crucial time to suppress the epidemic. The diocese has decided to suspend all public Masses, on Sundays and weekdays for two weeks, including the liturgy of Ash Wednesday, from February 15 to 28. Some Church members may be disappointed. However, I hope that everyone can understand this is not an easy decision,” wrote Cardinal John Tong, Apostolic Administrator of Hong Kong, in a message released on February 13, sent to Agenzia Fides.
The Cardinal invites everyone “not to panic”, and to “deepen our trust in God and implement our Christian love for our neighbors and all people”. “In addition to fulfilling our Mass obligation by participating in the Mass online, receiving Holy Communion spiritually, meditating on the Scriptures, or saying the Rosary, at home we can care more for the health of our family, especially the elderly and the children”, explained Cardinal Tong.
The Church asks the faithful to “help one another, share anti-epidemic materials, live the Gospel virtues of faith, hope, and love, and pray for each other”. “Through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother Mary, may the Lord listen to our prayers that the epidemic will soon disappear, and grant us good health and well-being”, concludes the Cardinal in the letter.
Meanwhile, the government of Hong Kong has extended the suspension of schools until at least March 16. Schools have been closed since the Chinese New Year break began in late January. “We are listening to doctors. We will announce the date of the resumption of schools”, said Minister of Education Kevin Yeung, reiterating strategies to prevent and control the epidemic.
Hong Kong currently has 50 confirmed coronavirus cases and is at the forefront of the global battle to contain the disease.