The Catholic Archdiocese of Nigeria has suspended the customary handshake of members, a part of the ‘sign of peace’ during mass.
The suspension is to curb the spread of Ebola Virus Disease.
In a statement released by the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Adewale Martins, entitled: The Outbreak of Ebola Virus – a pastoral approach, Martins said the rite is optional.
He said: “Taking into consideration the fact that this rite is optional, we shall henceforth omit it i.e. not invite people to offer the sign of peace.
“When you get to this rite, skip it. Note also, that the recent Circular from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments acknowledged this when it stated: ‘It is completely legitimate to affirm that it is not necessary to invite ‘mechanistically’ to exchange the sign of peace.”
On Sunday, Catholic churches in Lagos adhered to the directive as the “sign of peace” ritual which entailed shaking of hands with fellow brethren, was virtually skipped at Sunday masses.
In Abuja, the Primate of the Church Of Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, said the church would from September roll out measures to its faithful as pre-condition to ward off the rampaging Ebola virus.
He announced the immediate suspension of the shaking of hands during exchange of the peace, and also the age – long mouth method of administering communion.