KUCHING: For many Christians around the world the Holy Week, or the period between Palm Sunday and Easter, is a very significant period.
The Holy Week has some of Christianity’s most significant celebrations marked by a weekend commemorating the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, with churches being packed with believers during this period.
However, due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and Movement Control Order (MCO) that was implemented since March 18, the Holy Week would be observed online, with Christians being advised to go online to follow Mass proceedings and services.
When The Borneo Post spoke with Joey Hiu, 25, she said that her and her family would congregate at home in their living room and follow the online streaming made from the St. Thomas Cathedral.
When asked if congregating at home is a different experience from physically going to church, she said that it was definitely different as they would not be able to get the palm crosses.
“It is something different because of the MCO and usually on Palm Sunday you would queue up to get palm crosses but today we only congregate at home, and palm crosses will only be distributed two weeks after the MCO,” said Hiu.
For 53-year-old civil servant Rolend Tama from Long Peluan, Ulu Baram working in Kuching, he said that him and his family have been having fellowships at home.
Rolend, who attends the Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM) Kuching Evangelical Church with his family, opined that church should start from home.
“While under the MCO, we have no choice (not being able to go to church). But it is so good to have such avenues (online streaming from churches) for the family because it allows us not only to bond but grow in our faith and belief together,” Rolend said.
For 46-year-old Ruth Ronit Mason, who is a staff with the Anglican Diocese of Kuching, today (Sun) was the first time they followed the online live streaming from the St. Thomas Cathedral after so many years of celebrating Palm Sunday in church.
“As each one of of us were sitting down watching the livestream, I realised that today we were welcoming Jesus Christ into our home as we cried out ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ and ‘Hosanna in the highest!’. May our home and yours be blessed as Jesus Christ reigns in it,” she praised.
Meanwhile, Bishop of the Anglican Church in Sarawak and Brunei, the Rt Revd Datuk Danald Jute and St. Thomas Cathedral’s Dean Revd Kho Thong Meng recorded their Mass service a day before Palm Sunday via the cathedral’s Facebook.
“We would love to observe all these feasts together as a Church, in our churches. However, in compliance with the MCO, we cannot do this.
“We offer online services and live streaming instead, which we do in various languages. We also offer recorded sermons and messages of encouragement. Thankfully many members are able to follow our services. It is not ideal, but this is the best means at the moment.
“Today, one of our services was followed by nearly 4,000 members, and we expect more to tune in at some point later,” said Bishop Danald.
As for palm crosses, he said they were planning to distribute them two Sundays after the MCO lifts.
Members of the Anglican community can still follow the live streaming for Good Friday (April 10) and Easter (April 12) at 12 noon and 8.30am respectively.
For the Catholic church, live streaming for Palm Sunday was conducted from St Joseph’s Cathedral at 8am (English), Mandarin (9.15am) and Bahasa Malaysia (10.30am), said Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching Simon Poh.
“Today, I streamed the three Masses for Palm Sunday in English, Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia. At the same time, the St Ann’s Catholic Church Kota Padawan also carried out live streaming at 8.30am this morning,” Poh said.
Livestreamed Masses from St Joseph’s Cathedral can be watched live via tiny.cc/archkchyoutube or facebook.com/arch.kch for Good Friday (April 10) in Mandarin at 1.30pm, English (3pm) and in Bahasa Melayu (4.30pm) and Easter Sunday (April 12), English (8am), Mandarin (9.15am) and Bahasa Melayu (10.30am).