Hyderabad: Supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for Janta curfew, Archbishop of Hyderabad Thumma Bala has asked all believers in the Archdiocese to avoid Sunday Mass.

“In response to PM Modi’s call for ‘Janta Curfew’, Masses will not be celebrated on Sunday,” he said.

In a letter to the clergy and believers, the Archbishop said he was exempting the faithful from Sunday Masses. “I am hereby exempting all faithful in the Archdiocese of Hyderabad from the obligation to attend Masses on Sundays and days of obligation till March 31, 2020,” he said.

In repose to the request of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, the Archbishop has asked the Parish Priests or the Head of the Institutions to suspend all church services except Mass till March 31. There will be no Mission preaching, no Stations on the cross and no Novenas.

The Bishop has also urged those with symptoms of Covid-19 not to come to church for Masses on Sundays.

Masses, however, will be celebrated on March 29. Believers have been advised to come in small groups not more than 50. Those attending the Mass are expected to receive the Holy Communion in hand and follow all precautionary measures.

On March 19, three new positive cases of coronavirus were reported in Telangana, taking the total number of active cases to 15. One of the patients has travel history from Dubai to Hyderabad on March 14. He developed the symptoms on March 17. The second patent had travelled from London to Hyderabad on March 18. The third case had also travelled from London to Hyderabad.

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has called off the festivals and other religious rituals in the state. The move is a preventive measure to curb mass gathering which may result in the spread of the coronavirus.

Chief Minister said the government will not conduct official Ugadi celebrations at Pragathi Bhavan this year and instead it will telecast the official ‘panchanga shravanam’ for the convenience of the people.

Meanwhile, the government has extended the deadline for the shutdown of cinema halls, amusement parks, swimming pools, bars, and pubs, indoor/outdoor stadiums, gymnasiums, zoo parks, museums, and marriage halls till March 31.

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