By Betty Heng
KUCHING — St Peter’s Catholic Church at Padungan here reopened for sunset mass on last Saturday (July 4), morning and evening masses yesterday after being closed for more than three months during Movement Control Order to contain Covid-19.
Strict standard operating procedures (SOP) have been put in place by various service teams comprising volunteer parishioners under the rector Rev Fr Vincent Chin.
In the new normal, the only entrance to the church is gate C which is located next to St Joseph International School.
“As announced by Archbishop Simon Poh, the church is only having 100 parishioners for each mass at the moment on a first-come-first-serve basis.
“When the service teams and parishioners are familiar with the SOP, we would open to more parishioners as the church can accommodate more than 190 persons with social distancing,” stated Chin, adding that daily masses may resume then so more parishioners can receive Holy Communion.
Temperature is taken and personal details are recorded or scanned with Qmunity app at two queue lines at the main entrance. Parishioners are required to sanitised their hands after dropping their offerings into a basket provided before entering the church to be shown to their seats by wardens on duty.
Strict SOP have been put in place for receiving Holy Communion with new etiquette to be observed while inside the church.
“There is no choir, only one commentator who also does the readings, two Eucharist ministers and no altar boys to minimise risk.
“Children below 12 years, the elderly, those living with the elderly and those with medical conditions are encouraged to follow live-streaming of mass at home,” added Chin.
According to Chin, a volunteer team sanitises the church, columbarium, parish centre as well as toilets before and after each mass. Parishioners who attend mass may visit the columbarium within 30 minutes after mass, limited to 18 persons at any one time.
St Peter’s welcomes parishioners to sunset mass on Saturdays at 6pm, Sunday masses at 7.30am and 5.30pm.