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Sarawak, Malaysia: Churches Reopen for Lent

Churches in Kuching, capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak in Malaysia (located on the island of Borneo), have reopened their doors for Lent. As communicated to Agenzia Fides by the Archbishop of Kuching, Simon Poh, the local government has allowed the reopening of most of the churches, after more than two weeks of closure to contain the spread of Covid-19. The Eucharistic celebration in the parishes that have received permission began between 20 and 21 February, on the occasion of the first Sunday of Lent. The faithful were asked to check the reopening times and to comply with all health information and protocols to attend church in maximum safety. Churches located in areas where Covid-19 outbreaks are still present cannot reopen. The state of Sarawak is still strictly blocked until March 1, with various outbreaks of Covid-19 active on its territory.
“We entrust our leaders of the Catholic Church and to those responsible for the pastoral councils in the 300 Catholic villages of the Archdiocese the mission of monitoring and guaranteeing the respect of the necessary sanitary procedures during prayers, celebrations and funeral rites. The state authority considers such gatherings to be at high risk of potential infections”, the Archbishop remarked, calling for the utmost rigor and attention.
The Archbishop invites the faithful to observe during the Lenten season the practice of fasting, abstinence, prayer and charity, also by taking advantage of online communication channels to stay in touch with churches and to give plenty of room to prayer at home. “We are all called to make sacrifices and do our best to contain Covid. All the faithful are called to take on Christian, social and moral responsibility to reduce the risk of developing new outbreaks”, he said.
“Stay vigilant, follow all safety protocols. Pray, fast and give alms, indulge in penitential practices. Offer your sacrifices to Jesus during this Lent. Convert and believe in the Gospel”, said the Archbishop.
Bernard Lim, Catholic lay leader, told Fides: “We are happy for the reopening of churches during Lent. We will undertake to follow the required sanitary measures. We will live this time immersed in prayer”. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 24/2/2021)

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