By Jason Joenoi
KOTA KINABALU — To contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the nation went into a partial lockdown on Mar 18. Among other closures, churches were shut down resulting in the faithful being deprived of public Mass and receiving Holy Communion.
Beginning June as the nation entered the recovery phase of the movement order (RMCO), the re-opening of churches was gradually allowed but in strict compliance with the SOP for RMCO. The restrictions included a ban for those aged 70 and above and children 12 years and below to participate in public Mass.
With the continued easing down of the pandemic, Archbishop John Wong, beginning Aug 9, gave permission to the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish to start an initiative to serve her parishioners over 70 years and young parents with children below 12 years who have since mid-March been deprived of the Eucharist.
Guided by parish priest Fr Paul Lo, the Parish Pastoral Council mobilized its PFPN (Parish Family Pastoral Network) zone and taman coordinators to commence a registration exercise. A total of 220 elderly registered and received Holy Communion after following the live streamed Sunset Mass (English) on Aug 8 and Sunday Masses (Chinese and BM) on Aug 9. The Eucharist was dispensed by Extraordinary Minister of Communions (EMCs) who volunteered to serve the homebound during the Holy Communion service.
The registered parishioners who received Holy Communion in this unique service were reminded to observe the usual fast of at least one hour before receiving Holy Communion.
All visiting EMCs were required to follow the SOP strictly, which included wearing mask, and sanitizing hands before and after giving Holy Communion. Parishioners were also encouraged to wear mask. The protocol was set in place to ensure the safety of the EMCs and the parishioners.
For those (70 years, young parents and children 12 years and below, but already receiving Holy Communion) who have yet to register, you may contact your PFPN zone/taman coordinators or call the SHC office @ 224741 (Johnny Chong) to register.