Guidelines for re-opening of Catholic Parish Offices and Churches

Archbishop Simon Poh

As we prepare for the re-opening of church offices and eventually our churches after the 9 June MCO or beyond…

KUCHING — Kuching Archdiocese Archbishop Simon Poh has issued the following guidelines for parish offices and churches to adhere to on re-opening. He said: “On 12 May 2020, our nation Malaysia opened up certain sectors of business. Permission has also been given to Church offices to be opened. We need to be vigilant and not complacent in the face of the COVID-19 situation. 

“Though our parish office staff and catechists are just coming back on rotation duty in our respective parish offices, I would like to appeal to all Catholics to telephone, WhatsApp or email your requests to your parish office instead of driving personally to the office to meet the staff face-to-face. This will minimise physical points of contact and lower the risk for COVID-19 outbreak.

“I would also like to share with you on what to expect for a post-MCO worship and Mass in our Catholic churches. Definitely social distancing will be the new norm until a COVID-19 vaccine is available or that humanity has acquired a ‘herd immunity’. Thus when churches are allowed to be opened, the number of churchgoers will be much reduced per Mass because of the need for social distancing of a one-metre gap between each person. We will need to get used to wearing masks in public and getting our temperature screened before entering churches. We have purchased Infrared forehead thermometers for this purpose. 

“Should you be considered an ‘at risk’ category—elderly or with a pre-existing chronic illness (diabetes, hypertension, cancer survivor, heart issues, or even if you are uncomfortable to be exposed in public, know that I have dispensed you from the obligation to attend Holy Mass on Sunday until further notice. In other words, it is not a sin if you cannot be present physically to participate in Mass on Sunday. I would like to encourage you to continue to pray the Mass via livestream from your home with an act of Spiritual Communion. 

“Similarly, I would also strongly advise parents not to bring young children to Church as it would be difficult for them to keep social distancing and refrain from touching their faces and things around them. Stay safe for your family, loved ones and to serve the Lord in our neighbour. 

“I encourage all Catholics to be understanding and patient with the current situation when gatherings in Churches are still suspended to break the chain of COVID-19 outbreak and to prevent a second wave in the near future. It is this collective effort and sacrifice, made by all people of all religions together, that will eventually ensure that our society and especially our Churches will eventually be a safe environment for worship.”

  1. Wash your hands properly 
  2. Practise safe distancing 
  3. Wear a mask always
  4. Refrain from touching your face—eyes, nose and mouth
  5. Do whatever that can be done on-line instead of meeting face to face
  6. Work together with all people of good will to overcome COVID-19
  7. Be kind, considerate and extend help to those in need 
  8. Above all, pray, keep the faith and trust in God

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).


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