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Mongolian Catholics required to wear masks to Mass

The Catholic Church in Mongolia has implemented a government order that requires people to wear masks in public places, to prevent the spread of SARS.

Mongolian officials have confirmed two SARS cases, and medical authorities identified at least five other probable or suspect cases. Among these, it lists one suspected SARS death.

Last week the Mongolian government issued the decree forbidding anyone to enter a public building without wearing a mask.

Vatican trip planners have visited Mongolia to investigate the possibility of Pope John Paul II visiting in August.

Meanwhile in China, a priest says May pilgrimages to a popular Marian shrine will drop drastically due to SARS.

Fr Lan Xiaopeng, parish priest of the Church of Lady of Help in Shanghai, said many pilgrims have cancelled trips there scheduled for the Marian month of May to avoid exposure to SARS.

In Beijing, the Central Government cancelled the week-long public holiday that was due to begin today (May Day).

The government-approved bishops' conference then issued an "urgent notice" on 23 April urging all churches not to organise pilgrimages, especially to other provinces. Among other Church measures, Beijing diocese has cancelled all liturgies in its eight city churches until 11 May.

Catholic News Service/UCA News

Toronto pilgrims not welcome at US shrine (29/4/03)

31 May 2003