Bishop Richard Ng giving communion to a parishioner in his vehicle | Borneo Post photo

By Chew Lip Song, The New Sarawak

June 22 2020

LUTONG, Miri – The Church of Mater Dei in Lutong, Miri held its first ever drive-in mass at its carpark this morning, as parishioners embrace novel ways to fulfill their religious duties while maintaining social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19.

About 100 vehicles filled the car park, each parked one lot away from each other to allow social distancing, Borneo Post reported.

Parishioners stayed in the car until the end of the Mass with the holy communion being given to them at their respective vehicles. Parishioners were seen complying with the standard operating procedures (SOP) and church officials went around sanitising everyone’s hand before they received the holy communion.

Bishop Richard Ng of Miri Diocese said he was happy to see the good turn out at the first car park mass and said for the next car park mass, parishioners might need to register themselves before attending the mass to avoid overcrowding the parking lot.

“I’m very happy to see everyone here today. But next time you might need to register to ensure we do not overcrowd this car park,” he said adding that the car park mass will be continuously held as long as every parishioner adheres to the SOP.

He also urged all attendees to spread the word about the car park Sunday mass to other Catholics here so that those who are at high risk such as the elderly can still attend mass, even though just inside their parked car.

Meanwhile, parishioners were reminded not to bring children under 12 years old to attend Sunday mass, as per SOP outlined by the government in effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Currently, those attending the car park mass do not have to make early booking or registration but it will be based on first come first serve basis.

The Church of Mater Dei car park can accommodate over 100 cars with proper social distancing with the church gate opening at 6am.