KUCHING: The Catholic Bishops of Malaysia will be celebrating the Holy Week without the presence of the faithful in churches in light of the extended Movement Control Order (MCO), said Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching Simon Poh.
He said in a statement yesterday that these Masses and services will instead be live-streamed and broadcasted on Facebook or YouTube.
Poh, who is also Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) chairman, pointed out that an appeal for suspension of Sunday gatherings was initially sent to all churches throughout the state on March 16 to create a 14-day window to help contain the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) outbreak by flattening the infection curve.
“It was our hope that we will be in time to celebrate Holy Week, starting on Palm Sunday (April 5) and Good Friday (April 10),” he said.
However, he said data have shown that infection cases were still rising despite the initial MCO period.
“There was insufficient time for symptoms to appear on those already infected. At the same time, new clusters were being created at an even faster pace.
“If this is not mitigated soon, our health and medical facilities will definitely be overwhelmed. I believe that for this very reason, our Prime Minister and State Disaster Management Committee are forced to extend the MCO until April 14,” he said.
Though the MCO has been extended, Poh urged the people to consciously practise social distancing and to maintain proper hygiene and hand washing at all times.
“We are also under moral obligation to stay at home to prevent new outbreaks of Covid-19 while the hospitals respond to the current cases. I appeal to all people of good will, from all races, religions and social standing to share our resources, be kind and be good neighbours to each other.
“Together, we can overcome the economical, financial and emotional hardships during the MCO period,” he said.