BENGALURU: All public religious services in churches and chapels of Bangalore Urban and Bangalore Rural districts of the Archdiocese will be suspended from April 7 till April 20.
This was announced by the Archbishop of Bengaluru Dr Peter Machado in a communiqué on Wednesday. However, churches and chapels may be kept open for private visits and adoration.
Religious services in private are allowed for priests with no or limited participation. Dr Machado said in that case, maximum precautions and standard operating procedures have to be strictly followed.
Not more than 50 are allowed for funerals, and there will be no funeral masses in the church, he added. These masses can be celebrated in the cemeteries.
In case of sacramental celebrations (baptism, first holy communion, confirmation, marriages etc) which are pre-arranged in this period, not more than 50 will be allowed. If possible, they will be held behind closed doors with SOPs in place.
The Archdiocese has decided to hold the pre liturgical and liturgical services such as daily and Sunday mass in different languages online on its YouYube, Facebook and other live streaming channels. Parishes in Bengaluru are allowed to live stream their services.
The communique comes after the new directives of the government issued on April 6, which clamped down on all public religious services. The police commissioner Kamal Pant prohibited all gatherings, public functions, group prayers and any type of celebrations in the place of worship. However, individuals have been allowed to offer prayers.
The prohibitory order will remain in force till midnight of April 20. Those defaulting will be dealt with under the provisions of section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, section 188 of IPC and Section 4, 5, and 10 of the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act 2020.
The Archbishop has warned the lay faithful that they are solely responsible for the violation of the government's directives and will be liable to face any disciplinary proceedings.