2 July 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Peace in the grace of Jesus, our Risen Lord and Saviour.
Re: Opening of our churches for community worship in the Diocese of Tzaneen
This week I held a meeting with the parish priests of the Diocese of Tzaneen in order to evaluate the readiness of each parish to return to community worship in our various churches. Almost all the parishes have at least some communities that are ready to return to worship in their churches and have all the safety teams and measures in place in accordance with the Diocese of Tzaneen protocols regulating church worship during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Therefore I have decided that as from Saturday 11 July 2020, all parishes will be allowed to resume worshiping in church but only with those communities that are ready to do so. The readiness of the particular community for worship must be officially announced by the parish priest and will include the date, time and place and all the important details of the service to ensure the safety of all the attendees. Catholics who are over 60 years of age and people of any age who have health challenges are urged to remain at home. No one must be forced to participate in community worship because we are still in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and their decision not to participate must be respected.
Parish priests and the Parish Pastoral Councils of parishes that are not yet ready for community worship will continue to engage with their local communities with the expectation that by the middle of next month some of their communities will also be ready to do so.
I wish to thank all of our Catholic members who have been helping to prepare their communities for this important change since national lockdown. Let us continue to educate one another about this pandemic and help one another to avoid infecting others as well as to avoid getting infected. We must continue to practice regular hand washing, social distancing and wearing of the face mask in our daily social encounters. We continue to pray to God for our nation and for an end to this pandemic. May the healing Spirit of Jesus restore the health of our brothers and sisters who are infected with Covid-19.
May God bless you all and protect you.
Sincerely in Christ,
+ Joao Rodrigues
Bishop of Tzaneen
Tshimangadzo Samuel DASWA, the firstborn son of Tshililo Petrus Daswa (Bakali) and Thidziambi Ida DASWA (Gundula), was born on 16th June 1946 in Mbahe Village situated 30 kilometres from Thohoyandou, the main town of the former Venda Homeland, Limpopo Province, South Africa in the Diocese of Tzaneen. Blessed Benedict Daswa died a martyr for the faith on 2 February 1990 and was beatified on 13 September 2015.