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COVID-19; West Buganda Diocese Issues Tight Restrictions for Burials

Bishop Katumba stopped priests from using microphones during burial services and reduce the time of burial services to strictly 30 minutes in his latest list of guidelines to the Church. He also suspended the practice of choosing a member of the congregation to take Bible readings and allowed them to make necessary adjustments to other facets that may prolong the service.
.Bishop Henry Katumba Tamale, of West Buganda diocese and his wife during the interview

Audio 2

The Anglican Bishop of West Buganda Diocese, the Right Reverend Henry Katumba Tamale has directed that the time dedicated to prayers performed during burials should be reduced in order to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 among priests.

Bishop Katumba stopped priests from using microphones during burial services and reduce the time of burial services to strictly 30 minutes in his latest list of guidelines to the Church. He also suspended the practice of choosing a member of the congregation to take Bible readings and allowed them to make necessary adjustments to other facets that may prolong the service.   

The new guidelines have also stopped the priests from taking food at funerals and other social functions, directing that they only eat from their respective homes, as a way of reducing the risk of contracting the virus. 

Bishop Katumba says that in addition to the Ministry of Health guidelines, the Church has also found it necessary to issue customized regulations as extra safeguards for priests who are highly engaged by Christians seeking to send off their loved ones with prayers.

//Cue in; (Luganda) “mu mbeera eno….    

Cue out…..kukendeeza budde.”//

The Bishop has also suspended priests from leading processions to graveyards, instructing that all accompanying Church rituals be conducted and completed in the open space. He also tasked the priests to ensure that people attending services at funerals don’t exceed the 20 people as guided by the president.

The instructions also require the priests to perform open service only in inevitable situations that cannot wait, but put a lot of emphasis in their sermons to preaching the gospel of hope to the communities that are currently so desperate due to the Covid-19 scare.

//Cue in; “omuntu oba afudde Covid-19…    

Cue out…..buli kiseera fuyiira.”//

Similarly, in Masaka Catholic Diocese, although the administration has not issued formal instructions regarding performing mass at funerals, many of the priests are by default avoiding them, and are instead delegating Catechists to lead the mourners in prayers as they send off the dead.