Pastoral responses from the various Arch/dioceses on novel Coronavirus 2019

Photo: HM

Here are some guidelines released by the Arch/dioceses.

Singapore Archdiocese
January 24, 2020

Dear Rev Fathers Wishing you a Blessed Lunar New Year

As a further health precaution against the Wuhan flu virus, here are some guidelines for immediate action in all parishes:

1) There will be no Holy Water in the fonts at church entrances.
2) At Masses and services, during the “sign of peace”, bow instead of shaking hands.
3) Do not leave used tissues in the pews. Please instruct the faithful to dispose of these items properly.

The Archbishop, in consultation with his Consultors has decided to suspend all Catechism Classes for children until 1st March, 2020 in view of the Wuhan Coronavirus as precautionary measures to protect our children. (Published February 1, 2020)

Let us be united in prayer for God’s protection on our people and also prayers for the medical personnel attending to victims of the virus.

Thank you and with God’s blessings
Fr Stephen Yim Chairman Senate of Priests

Miri Diocese
January 28, 2020

Diocese of Miri advisory on preventive measures to be taken at all churches in response to the Wuhan virus outbreak with immediate effect.

1) Any person who is unwell or exhibits symptoms of flu is exempted from attending Masses.
2) Holy Communion is to be received only on the hand during this period.
3) There will be no holy water in the fonts at church entrances.
4) At Masses, during the sign of peace, bow instead of shaking hands.

Bishop Richard Ng

Keningau Diocese
January 28, 2020

The Chancellor Office of Keningau Diocese has published a Precautionary measure/ advisory due to the coronavirus epidemic as follows:

1) Avoid large and frequent social group gatherings.
2)Avoid sharing a straw-sipping rice wine jar and using a same spoon.
3) Avoid frequenting shopping malls and open markets if there is no urgent need to buy.
4) Temporarily, avoid visits to hospitals unless you are sick and need treatment or you are visiting a sick family member. Use a mask wherever possible.
5) Don’t consume raw or half-cooked food, especially exotic meat such as snake, frog, big bat and wild boar.
6) Frequently wash your hands with soap and don’t touch face, eyes and nose with unclean hands.
7) Always wear a mask whenever possible, be it in the bus, shopping mall, etc.
8) Don’t drink unboiled water.
9) When sneezing, cover your mouth with a tissue or handkerchief.
10) During Service and Mass: Temporarily there will be no holy water

Bow during the “sign of peace” instead of shaking hands.

Don’t throw or leave used tissue paper in the pew.

Prevention is better than cure. Let us be more responsible.

Fr Rudolp Joannes Chancery office Diosis Keningau

Kuching Archdiocese
January 28, 2020


To the Catholic faithful
On every weekend, our Churches are usually packed with worshippers. With the outbreak of novel coronavirus, I exhort all Catholics to pray earnestly and take necessary precautionary measures to help contain this outbreak. Following my initial guidelines issued on 25th January 2020, please find new recommendations appended below:

  1. Persons displaying flu-like symptoms, e.g. fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, cold, etc are advised to stay home and avoid public places including churches. Such persons are exempted from Sunday Obligations.
  2. Catholics who are not able to attend Mass for the above reason are encouraged to stay home and read the Sunday Liturgy of the Word, make an act of Spiritual Communion by offering a prayer, accompanied with the desire to be in union with the Eucharistic Lord.
  3. Prayers are to be offered privately at home and in all parishes:
    a) Pray for medical professionals — doctors, nurses and health personnel who are providing health care to patients.
    b) Pray that world health experts will speedily develop vaccine and ways to control the outbreak.
    c) Pray for the victims, especially those who have died and for their grieving family members.
  4. In solidarity with the Catholic Dioceses in Malaysia, the following intentions are to be included in the General Intercessions:

“For the victims of the coronavirus, people affected by the quarantine and shutdown of public facilities, the medical staff tasked with the treatment and care of those who have contracted the virus, that God may protect them from further harm and grant those who are sick, swift recovery. We pray to the Lord …”

  1. Practical recommendation and precautions in Churches during Masses:
  • Holy Water will not be used in fonts at church entrances.
  • At Mass, during sign of peace, bow instead of shake hands.
  • Use a tissue to cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
  • Do not leave used tissues on the pews. Dispose of properly.
  • Practise good hygiene — proper washing of hands with soap.
  • Do not touch eyes, nose or mouth with hands before washing.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

While taking the above precautions, I call upon all Catholic faithful to remain calm, to trust official announcements, be responsible and verify news on social media, to cooperate and follow the precautions issued by the Ministry of Health. With prayers and New Year blessings,.

Archbishop Simon Poh

Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese
January 29, 2020

Advisory on “Corona Virus” Epidemic

In support of precautionary measures taken by the Ministry of Health of Malaysia regarding the corona virus epidemic, the Archdiocese is supplementing the following with immediate effect:

1) There will be no holy water in the fonts at church/chapel entrances for the time being.
2) At Masses and services, the “exchange of peace” is done by bowing to each other instead of shaking hands.
3) Holy Communion is to be received only on the hand during this period of health concern.
4) Mass celebrants and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are to ensure their hands are thoroughly cleansed.
5) Please cover your mouth with a handkerchief or tissue-paper when coughing or sneezing during Mass or service.
6) Used tissue-papers are to be disposed properly in trash bins instead of leaving them in the pews.

Let us continue to pray for divine intervention as China and the World Health Organisation (WHO) deal with the corona virus epidemic.

Archbishop John Wong



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