Although church buildings have been closed and all public gatherings and celebrations have been cancelled in accordance with the decision of the government to restrict public movement as a way to limit the spread of Covid-19, it has not stopped priests in Sarawak from carrying out their pastoral and spiritual activities for the spiritual nourishment of God’s people entrusted to their care. Spiritual activities such as celebration of masses, stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy prayer and other activities are carried out privately behind closed doors and are broadcasted to the parishioners.
The Mill Hill Missionaries from Sibu and Miri dioceses here in Sarawak have all been seen on live streaming masses as they try to reach out to their Christians with the message of hope. At St Joseph’s Cathedral parish Miri, the priests continue to celebrate daily masses in a private chapel. The celebrations are streamed live on social media on the Miri Diocese website and parishioners can follow by listening and watching on their computers and smartphones.
One of the parishioner, Mr. Stephen Then, reporting to the Star News Papers, had this to say:
“Father Elvis Suuh, who conducted the mass, said in these difficult times amid the Covid-19 outbreak, parishioners must continue to remain steadfast in prayers and firm in faith in God.
He urged the Christians to continue showing their love and concern for one another and especially those on the margins of society.
He prayed that the local communities, states and countries would be able to overcome the present challenges swiftly.
Fr Elvis quoted several Bible passages where communities in Old Testament times had undergone great tribulations, but they managed to emerge stronger because of their perseverance and faith”.
In moments like this, when businesses are closed down, when streets are deserted and the city like a ghost town, when people live without any source of income, when the food they stored at home is running out as the “Movement Control Order” (MCO) prolongs, spiritual life must be nourished and lifted high. It is our collective responsibility to come to the aid of each other and lift up each other spiritually.
Elvis Mbangsi mhm