Hundreds attend ordination Mass in East Nusa Tenggara despite Covid-19 warnings

An ordination Mass for a new bishop attended by hundreds of people went ahead at a cathedral in the Ruteng district, Manggarai regency in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, despite requests to cancel the Mass.

The Ordination Mass, held for Siprianus Hormat, who was named the new bishop of Ruteng, began at 9am at the Ruteng Cathedral on Thursday (March 19).

Manggarai regent Deno Kamelus argued that the event was held under tight health screening with organisers providing hand sanitisers and checking the body temperatures of churchgoers before they entered the church, which was attended by around 1,500 people.

“The visitors accounted for only 1% of the population of Manggarai Raya. The Manggarai regency administration and the organisers followed protocols set by the central government,” he told The Jakarta Post.

He added that the administration would follow the policies set by the central government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Siprianus was ordained to lead the Catholic congregations in Manggarai Raya, which comprises Manggarai, East Manggarai and West Manggarai regencies.

The administration decided to go ahead with the event, as it was scheduled months ago, Deno said.

“The administration and the organisers are also closely monitoring churchgoers from outside Manggarai while they are in Ruteng,” he added.

Previously, the head of the Covid-19 rapid-response team, Doni Monardo, had asked the Ruteng Archdiocese to postpone the ordination Mass to prevent spreading the disease.

“We beg you to postpone the event on behalf of humanity,” he said in a letter sent to the cardinal and Manggarai regent as quoted from Kompas.com.

Doni expressed his concern that Covid-19 carriers could potentially transmit the virus to the elderly and the sick, who are especially vulnerable to the disease.

Indonesia has recorded 227 confirmed Covid-19 cases in 13 provinces with 19 fatalities. – The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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