Quick chat with Bishop Denis Wiehe | 04 April 2020
‘We support the national effort coordinated by the Ministry of Health by any means at our disposal’
Seychelles NATION: In a live press conference with the Family Affairs, it was mentioned that it will work in collaboration with the Seychelles Interfaith Council (Sifco) and non-governmental organisations to help out the community. How will Sifco do that?
Bishop Denis Wiehe: Sifco’s managing committee also decided that we would support the national effort coordinated by the Ministry of Health by any means at our disposal.
Personally as chairman of Sifco and head of the Catholic Church, I have been in touch with both Dr Jude Gédéon and the vice-president, Vincent Meriton. The possibility of using one of the Catholic Church’s buildings for confinement is under discussion. I am to meet with the vice-president as soon as he can welcome me.
Seychelles NATION: In this time of crisis, can Sifco organise a platform for religious representatives to come together for prayers and reflections?
Bishop Denis Wiehe: Last Thursday Sifco’s managing committee met. It was decided that each denomination/Church/Religion would organise messages and encouragement to its members and to the community at large. This is what I have done for our Catholic community. Although we cannot pray together and especially although we cannot celebrate mass with church-goers, we continue to pray and say mass individually as priests and sometimes with very small groups. Several people have reacted positively to the screening of pre-registered mass on Sundays. These screenings are on SBC3 and TeleSesel and also on the SBC Radio.
Seychelles NATION: Now the Fast is ending, what advice would you give to the fellow Catholics. How should they celebrate Easter?
Bishop Denis Wiehe: My message for the week running from Sunday April 5 (Palm Sunday) to Sunday April 12 which is Easter Sunday, which we call HOLY WEEK, has already been decided.
(Please find below the official communiqué from Bishop Denis Wiehe regarding the ceremonies for the Holy Week).
Dear Catholic sisters and brothers,
As we approach the great Holy Week, we must stand together in the suffering caused by the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus and united in prayer.
“The message of Holy Week helps us in this time of global crisis. Jesus, the Son of God made man, shows us that he is united with us to the point of embracing our fragility and vulnerability: he suffers and died like us. Jesus is with us in our suffering. In suffering Jesus continues to love and forgive: on the Cross, he is already victorious because of his way of dealing with suffering and death. He is also victorious because he has conquered death. He is the God of life: He is risen. United with him by faith and love, we too will overcome all hardship and suffering and even death.”
PRACTICAL QUESTIONS FOR HOLY WEEK CEREMONIESThe decisions taken by the authorities to guarantee our health for all do not allow us to celebrate the ceremonies as we are used to. However, these pre-recorded ceremonies, without the faithful, will be broadcast on TV on SBC3 and Telesesel as well as on Radyo Sesel. I invite you to follow these ceremonies carefully in your home with your family. Please contact your parish / chapel for your ‘Parol Bondye pour ozordi’ booklets (April edition).Here are some details:1. Palm Sunday - April 5 (SBC3): At home: You are invited to have your branch in your hand at the start of the celebration when the priest blesses the branches. You will keep this twig in your home as usual, until Ash Wednesday of next year.2. Holy Thursday - April 9, The Lord's Supper. (SBC3 at 7pm; Telesesel at 6pm)3. Good Friday - April 10 (1) Way of the Cross in the morning at 9 am: SBC3, Telesesel and Radyo Sesel (2) Reading of the Passion: at 3pm: SBC3, Telesesel and Radyo Sesel. At home: stand in front of a crucifix or hold a cross in your hand.4. Holy Saturday - April 11: Easter Vigil: SBC3 and Radyo Sesel 8pm; Telesesel 9pm. At home: Light a candle when the Paschal candle is lit and keep it alight.5. Easter Sunday - April 12: Radyo Sesel, 9am; SBC3 and Telesesel: 9am6. The "Our Father" - Every day, do not forget to pray the ‘Our Father’ at 12 noon, in solidarity with the whole world.For several reasons including the cost of the operation, the difficulty of mobilising the necessary number of technicians and others, the SBC cannot transmit these ceremonies live, however the SBC accepted the transmissions of pre-recorded ceremonies. I warmly thank the priests, the SBC, Telesesel, the TouleBox Team and the people who kindly participated in the realisation of these ceremonies.
+ Denis Wiehe
BISHOP OF PORT-VICTORIA
Compiled by Vidya Gappy
From the Vatican News
COVID-19: Holy Land preparing for a new kind of Holy Week
With strict measures in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Catholic Church in the Holy Land is finding novel ways to help the faithful participate in liturgical celebrations leading up to Easter.
Even the most sacred sites in Christianity have not been spared the ravages of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
As part of measures to halt its spread, Holy Week and Easter celebrations in the places of Jesus’ life and death have to be held without a congregation.
In response, the Apostolic Administrator of Jerusalem has laid out pastoral guidelines for the celebration of Holy Week.
New challenge, new response
Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa called it “a unique situation that we have never seen before and which requires us to find new ways to celebrate”.
Liturgical celebrations at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre have been reduced to a minimum.
But Triduum and Easter celebrations in Christianity’s most sacred site will be live-streamed in Arabic by the Christian Media Centre.
In the guidelines, Archbishop Pizzaballa invited parish priests in Jerusalem to provide the faithful with blessed olive branches and holy water.
Families, he said, are urged to make time to pray together at home and to participate in the liturgies with leaflets prepared by the diocese that contain the Mass readings.
Celebrate together, apart
Archbishop Pizzaballa urged the parishes in the Holy Land to direct the faithful to the Triduum liturgies broadcast online from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, rather than live-streaming their own celebrations.
Individual confessions have been strongly discouraged in order to stem contagion. But Archbishop Pizzaballa reminds Catholics of the possibility to receive absolution by making a sincere act of contrition, along with the intention to confess their sins to a priest as soon as possible.
Week of digital prayer
In a bid to bring the Holy Land to the faithful around the world, the Custody of the Holy Land has launched a virtual pilgrimage.
Running through Holy Week, the “digital prayer” initiative will allow francophone faithful to pray with Christians in the Holy Land.
As Brother Roger Marchal, OFM, puts it: “Our main mission at the Custody is to bring the Holy Land to the faithful and to help them love and discover our Churches.”
By Devin Watkins