Continue praying from home, says Archbishop

Simon Poh

KUCHING: On this Easter Sunday, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching, Most Reverend Simon Poh, has called upon Catholics to continue praying from home.

“As many cannot come to church, I invite you to continue to pray online. Do not be passive viewers, but pray together.

“You may be with your own family in your own house but know that you are not alone when you pray online; thousands of Catholics will be praying in solidarity with you,” he said.

He said during this time when physical attendance is not possible, he called upon the people to be in solidarity and in spirit to pray together as one.

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and marks the end of Lent.

“Therefore, on behalf of the Catholic Church in Sarawak, Bishop Joseph Hii of Sibu, Bishop Richard Ng of Miri, Kuching Archbishops Emeriti Peter Chung and John Ha, priests, deacons, and religious brothers and sisters, I would like to wish you a blessed Easter Triduum.

“As the chairman of Association of Churches (ACS) in Sarawak, together with ACS church leaders, I take this opportunity to bring the greetings, peace and blessing of Easter to all Christians and people of goodwill,” he said.

In the meantime, Poh said during the Holy Week, there were about 70,000 Catholics who tuned in to attend service and Mass online.

“Kuching being in the red zone means that we can have only 20 persons (church leaders). In a way technology has indeed been a blessing as with live streaming, we were able to reach out to those who cannot attend church.

“I reviewed the number of viewers for Good Friday last year on our Facebook page and noted that we had 50,000 for English, 13,000 for Mandarin, and 25,000 for the Bahasa Malaysia services,” he said.

Poh is looking forward to welcoming congregations to churches once the churches are out of the red zone.

“At the St Joseph Cathedral, we organised a drive-thru Mass at the car parks for about 50 vehicles so that the elderly and vulnerable can come to church and pray from the safety bubble of their respective vehicles. This will continue when we are not in the red zone,” he said.

Churches in red and orange zones were not allowed to open to curb the spread of Covid-19, but the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has allowed them to open during the Holy Week under strict standard operating procedures (SOPs).

During the Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, they are allowed to hold services for up to a maximum of 20 assigned persons only, while churches in the green and yellow zones are allowed to be opened up to 50 percent capacity with at least one metre of physical distancing.