COVID-19: Nigerian Catholics lift suspension on liturgical handshake

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The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria has directed resumption of the liturgical practice of hands popularly known as ‘Kiss of Peace’, about 30 months after its suspension.

The suspension followed the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic by the World Health Organization as global emergency.

The lift in suspension decision was taken during proceedings of the just-concluded second plenary of the CBCN which held in Orlu, Imo State.

The directive was contained in a memo by Rev. Fr. Cosmas Uzoigwe, Personal Assistant to the President of the CBCN, His Grace, Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji, dated September 17 and obtained by The PUNCH in Abuja on Sunday titled, ‘Kiss of Peace.’

The memo was sent to all Archdiocesan Priests, Religious Priests, and
male and female religious Lay faithful in Owerri Archdiocese.

Uzoigwe said, “Greetings to you all,
His Grace, Most Rev. Lucius lwejuru Ugorji has directed that the traditional shaking of hands (Kiss of Peace) during Eucharistic celebration and other events in the
liturgical celebrations of the Church should resume and come back to life.

“Recall that the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to pronounce stringent guidelines which affected our liturgical worship, and one of such was that which restrained all from shaking hands during Mass.

“The resolution to commence the liturgical gesture of shaking of hands came following the proceedings of the recent concluded Second Plenary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria held at Orlu.

“We thank God who led us through the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. We pray Him to bless us always with His presence. Amen.”


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