Tribune News Service
Amritsar, June 13
With its churches closed on account of the pandemic, the Diocese of Amritsar (DoA), Church of North India (CNI), adopted a novel way of allowing its members to assemble for prayers, as per the Christian tradition, by holding a rooftop worship service at Mission Compound, Court Road, Amritsar, on Sunday.
In yet another first, the DoA also celebrated the Holy Communion (an observance commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus Christ) for the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak. The holy rite entails distribution of bread (symbolic of the body of Jesus Christ) and sacramental wine (symbolising Lord Jesus’ blood that he shed on the Cross) among worshippers.
Giving details, Most Rev Dr PK Samantharoy, Bishop, DoA, CNI, said the enthusiasm of the members of the CNI was palpable from the fact that an overwhelming number of Christians and people of other faiths residing in the Mission Compound assembled on their rooftops, braving the downpour, in response to the call of worship early Sunday morning.
Bishop Samantharoy said besides regular praise and worship, including rendition of traditional hymns, sermon, the Holy Communion and prayers, special intercessory prayers were offered for Covid-19 victims, casualties, Covid-19 warriors and their families.
“The DoA stands by them in this hour of calamity. Besides offering regular prayers for them through initiatives as rooftop worship services and inter-faith prayer sessions, the DoA is also working to proffer relief to those affected by the pandemic through various social outreach programmes entailing the welfare of women, children, elderly and entire families, particularly in the rural areas of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, J&K,” he said.
Stating that people’s response to this rooftop Sunday service was really inspiring, he said the initiative aims at reviving the Sunday gatherings, which, as of now, stand suspended.
“The DoA has come up with this initiative considering the fact that rooftop services allow Christians to assemble for worship every Sunday. As families gather on their respective terraces in the fresh air, social distancing is also maintained, which minimises the threat of the spread of the virus. Due care is taken to ensure that people observe all other safety measures including wearing of masks to minimise any possibility of the spread of infection,” he said.
Rev Lily Samantharoy, Rev Ayub Daniel, Rev Uday Singh, Rev Raj Kumar, Rev Stephen Masih, Rev Rajni Bala, Rev Marcus Masih, were among the presbyters of DoA, who participated in the rooftop service.
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