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Ebola: Catholic Church Stops Placing Communion on Worshippers’ Tongues & “Sign of Peace” Handshake




Catholic ArchDiocese Bella Naija

Abuja (NAN) ― The Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja on Sunday announced new procedures for worshippers at Masses to check likely spread of the Ebola virus.

The procedures which include the administration of the Holy Communion on the palm of the faithful as against placing it on the tongue of the recipient, was announced by Rev. Fr. Moses Jimbili, at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Nyanya.

Jimbili told parishioners at the church that the measure was a directive by the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, as check on the spread of Ebola disease.

Another change in the church’s practice was the stoppage of hand shake by worshippers done during consecration of the Holy Communion as sign of peace.

NAN also reports that Onaiyekan’s directive is contained in a statement issued by the Director of Social Communications in the archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Patrick Alumunku.

“Due to the prevailing national situation on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), I am directing that the following pastoral guidelines should be observed throughout our Archdiocese till further notice.

“The sign of peace should be omitted at Mass, Communion in the hand is highly recommended and should be encouraged (unless for those who insist on receiving on the tongue),” the statement quoted the Cardinal as saying.

The cardinal also directed that special intercessory prayers should be offered during the holy mass against the spread of the virus.

Jimbili said, “You know some people sweat a lot and since one of the ways the virus can be transmitted is through sweating, it will be better to stop handshake so that one does not contract it.’’

He, however, advised worshipers to be prayerful over the Ebola scourge.

Speaking to NAN at the church, a worshiper, Tochukwu Ikwuazom, commended the diocese for the precautionary measure to curb the spread of the virus and urged Nigerians to pray to God to remove the disease from the country. 

Photo Credit: The Nation


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.


  1. Shadie

    August 11, 2014 at 1:26 am

    What a welcomed development samething should be implemented in Lagos because I received Holy Communion in my mouth in Church today.

  2. bruno

    August 11, 2014 at 2:14 am

    If I talk now,you people will say bruno has come again,but I thought all you religious people claim to have special powers, why can’t you pray the ebola away, scientists are working hard to save lives,when they eventually find the cure for ebola, nobody should say its something in the sky that gave them the cure.

    • MsBlossom

      August 11, 2014 at 11:14 am

      You scream “”Atheist” at the slightest chance you get.. If it favour’s you …?. Don’t mock Christianity.


      August 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      your trolling is ridiculous. yiu have some serious issues you need to deal with. your agressiveness is not normal

    • 4tunechuks

      August 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      really #bruno why are you so full of critisism?

  3. ndubuisi

    August 11, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Where is the place holy ghost in this case. Can we change because devil want us to do so in the name of disease. Holy spirit take control.


    August 11, 2014 at 6:17 am

    *singing* Nobody wants to dieeee

  5. dotty

    August 11, 2014 at 8:23 am

    lmao…..fear of the unknown! one must die of something shaaa…..God help us……

  6. Lol, so true, noticed it in church yesterday. & 1 very silly man booked mass praying 4 protection of his family from EVD. Really?? 😀

  7. Omo1

    August 11, 2014 at 10:12 am

    I like it when people get realistic. Absolutely nothing wrong in taking precautionary measures

  8. ade

    August 11, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Been to anglican church and everyone drank communion from the same cup. I was shocked…hope this is not the practice in every anglican church and if it is, needs to be suspended for now immediately

    • NaijaPikin

      August 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Yes this is the practice in Anglican and Catholic church.

  9. nd

    August 11, 2014 at 10:41 am

    to me personally, it doesn’t make sense either giving the communion by hand or mouth , i think its all same, cos the person giving u d communion either ways have already contaminated the communion by touching it. so its all same. the only way forward is to stop communion why this issue of Ebola is still on, even if we are asked to administer the communion by self , u can mistakenly take two instead of one n decide to drop d other, by so doing u v contaminated the other communion. i rest my case. God shd pls see us through dis period.

  10. Jhennique

    August 11, 2014 at 10:45 am

    why dont they put it on a tray and let the worshippers pick it by themselves. Except the priest will be wearing gloves sha oh.

  11. Flames

    August 11, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Everybody wnts 2 go 2 heaven bt nobody wnts 2 die,lol. Our priest also made dis announcement yesterday n also 2 find way 2 organise water n disinfectant 4 hand washing

  12. NNENNE

    August 11, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    @ Frames. .. it was not designed for all of us to die in a day, unless the world is ending now.
    Proudly Catholic. Other religious organizations should be part of this healthy living campaign. In whatever capacity they can do it.

  13. jamila yunusa

    August 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm


  14. jennietobbie

    August 11, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Common sense applied. Thank you!!

  15. angyu daniella

    August 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    jamila yunusa whats so funny??? der is absolutely nothing wrong with taking precautionary measures

  16. Gregory

    August 11, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    nothing to fear God is Alive and our priest are hygienic so note that no Catholic will contact Ebola. Proudly Catholic.

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