KUCHING: St Joseph’s Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in Kuching finally reopened for Sunday masses after suspending gathering of members for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuching, Archbishop Simon Poh said the cathedral, including other city churches such as St. Mark’s Church, Carmelite Church, St. Peter’s Church and the Chapel of Mother Mary have also been opened.
Smaller outstation Catholic churches like those in Lundu, Bunan Gega, Tebedu, Sri Aman, Betong and Saratok which were located in green zones or had no COVID-19 positive cases for 14 consecutive days were reopened last week.
Poh said at the St Joseph’s Cathedral, their mass services had actually started yesterday with the Mandarin mass being held at 5.00 pm and the English mass at 8 pm.
“While for Sunday, we have conducted live streaming for the 8 am, 9.15 am and 10.30 am mass services while for the mass in Bahasa Malaysia is at 2 pm and 5 pm for the English mass,” he said when met at the cathedral today.
Poh said for now churches under the Archdiocese of Kuching would only allow 100 members to attend their masses and would gradually open up to a maximum capacity of 250 as allowed by the Federal government once the churches are fully prepared.
Meanwhile, Bishop of the Anglican Church in Sarawak and Brunei, Right Reverend Datuk Donald Jute when met at the St Thomas Cathedral said the Anglican churches had started reopening last week, also with strict standard operating procedures imposed.
Similarly, he said members have to register with the respective Anglican churches before attending mass, adding that slowly as the weeks pass the number will be increased from 100 to 250.
“This is because we want take a very cautious approach whereby the people, our members, are safe. That is our primary concern,” he said, adding that there would be 2,000 members attending the Sunday masses at St Thomas Cathedral during normal days.
He said for the Sunday mass, there will be two mass services held at 8.30 am for the English mass and 10.30 am for the Mandarin mass, while live streaming the masses would still continue.
“Beginning next week, we will have an additional service that is the Iban service at 2 pm. People can come to pray at the church and that will also be live streamed,” he added.