Parishioners attend mass after seven months - Eastern Mirror
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Parishioners attend mass after seven months

By Our Correspondent Updated: Oct 04, 2020 9:29 pm
Parishioners receiving the Holy Communion from Fr. Richard Fernandes during the Angami mass at St. Francis de Sales parish in Kohima on Sunday.

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Oct. 4 (EMN):
St. Francis de Sales (SFS)parish in Kohima celebrated Eucharist on Sunday after seven months since the nationwide lockdown came intoforce due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A parish situated in the state capital, thousands of believers belonging to different communities residing in various localities used to attended the service.

With positive cases of Covid-19 still spiralling in the state, the parish made necessary arrangements to conduct the service by adhering to the SOPs of the government and the bishop of Kohima.

According to the church protocol, only assigned colonies would be allowed to attend the holy mass on the designated day. However, only a minimal congregation would be permitted to attend the Eucharist.

On October 4, three Eucharistic celebrations were held. The first mass began at 8 am, where parishioners from IG Stadium, Kohima Bible College, New Secretariat, High School and Themezie attended the service. The second mass began at 11am in which colonies namely Sepfüzou, Bayavü, Rokabozou, Pezielietsie, and Kenuozou attended the Eucharist. The third Eucharist at 3 pm was attended by members from Merhülietsa, Para Medical, and Officer’s Hill colonies.

Every parishioner entering the parish was thermalscanned, while the church was disinfected after every mass was celebrated. Social distancing was strictly maintained.

Rev. Fr. Richard Fernandes, the parish priest of SFS, while delivering his sermon in Angami mass, said the Sabbath Day on October 4 commemorates thefeast of St. Francis of Assisi. Fernandes also explained how Francis lived a simple life like Christ while teaching about Him to people.

The celebrant asked the parishioners to pray that they emulate the examples of Francis of Assisi in following Christ in fullness of love.
Earlier, the first mass was celebrated by Gabriel Gaikhang, while Fr. TP James SDB celebrated the evening mass.

Interacting with Eastern Mirror after the mass, Thehiechulie Louis, member of the parish, said being able to congregate again and celebrate the Holy Eucharist was “by far the most nourishing experience during this Covid-19 times.”

“There is nothing greater than to be able to worship God as worshipping is the essence of a Christian,” he said adding that being able to worship together as a community ‘really uplift one’s spirit.’

“This pandemic has taught us that the spiritual dimension, when neglected for long, can have a drastic effect on our physical life,” said Louis, who is also the president of Angami Catholic Union (ACU).

“Today our church had opened for public worship with limited attendance.
Looking forward with hope and prayer to that day when we all will be able to congregate again and worship God without any restrictions,” he added.

Ketoulesie-ü Irine Sekhose, a mother, also expressed her happiness in attending the Eucharist after such a prolonged period of time. She said that despite the unprecedented situation, no occurrence or accident which could lead to unintended harm to any parishioner was witnessed by the grace of God.

“I’m so happy that we have worshipped God together and received blessings today,” Sekhose said while hoping that the situation will improve day-by-day so that more people would come in search of God at the church.

Dziesebeinuo Agnes Rutsa, a youth member of the parish, likened the closure of the church to “days of trials and temptations” while reopening the parish to the “beginning of overcoming the pandemic”.

“I was immensely moved to see the parishioners congregating again after so long. I feel this is an indication of Christ’s undying love for us,” she said.
Zavilie Raymond, another youth, narrated how it was ‘never enough with home prayers without attending the Eucharist on Sundays.’

“Coming to the parish today and receiving the Holy Communion have nurtured me spiritually again,” he said.

“As Catholics, going to the church to confess oursins and receive the Holy Communion either on daily mass or weekly mass is vital for us to grow spiritually,” Raymond added.

Monday’s mass will began at 6:30 am for the assigned colonies such as Kezieke (Upper/ Lower)and Gaurilane areas.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Oct 04, 2020 9:29:00 pm