Churches in Nigeria may be risking the spread of Ebola through their Holy Communion and Sharing of the Peace rituals.
Christian Today reports that Anglican and Catholic Church leaders have been advised to avoid their regular Communion practices, in which a priest places a wafer directly in the parishioner’s mouth. Many of the churches also share in drinking from the same cup as part of the custom.
Alfred Adewale Martins, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos released a statement in August, urging churches to stop the practice to avoid the spread of the deadly virus.
"We have now deemed it necessary to permit in the interim the reception of Holy Communion in the hand as an extraordinary practice while the Ebola Virus alert is on. We maintain however, that in the Archdiocese of Lagos, the ordinary way of receiving Holy Communion remains Communion-on-the-tongue,” he said.
Parishioners have also been told to avoid shaking hands during the Sharing of the Peace.
Still, many churches are continuing the traditions, threatening the health of the congregation.
Publication date: September 18, 2014