Fr Paul Lo presided the Mass in English at 10.30am in SHC, July 12

By Linda Edward

July 13 2020

KOTA KINABALU – Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC) reopened her door for the first Eucharistic Celebrations on Sunday with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in practice, imposed by the government during the recovery stage (RMCO) of the coronavirus pandemic in effect since June.

Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese embraced the new SOP and gave the green light for public Masses to resume on July 12 with strict adherence of the protocol by all parishes.

Due to difficulties in controlling big gatherings of people, houses of worship are only allowed to operate with a capacity limit of 1/3 of the respective place.  

To regulate registration, SHC adopted a coupon-based system that registers each person’s name, contact number and the date of Mass the person is attending.

After four long months of being barred from Mass attendance in the church, parish priest Fr Paul Lo affirmed the congregation of their longing for God, “This is your desire to come here (in the Mass), and it is very beautiful.”

He expressed his own joy, “I am very happy when we are allowed to have Mass again,” and said that he was kept awake by the excitement of being with the people again.

The first Sunday Mass after MCO, on July 12

Fr Lo presided the Mass in English at 10.30am, which was attended by 380 parishioners although many more have called the parish office asking permission to attend Mass.  

“Pray that the pandemic will be over soon so that others can join us without the SOP. Pray that everyone can come to worship Jesus Christ again in this Church.

“These four months is like an exile from the Church. But it helps us to prepare the soil of our hearts to receive the Word of God, so that you will multiply a hundred, sixty, thirty,” affirmed Fr Lo, emphasizing the words of Jesus from the Gospel.

Prior to Mass, he briefed the people on the SOP to ensure minimal movement inside the Church.

The parish has decided the protocol for the Mass to be without choir and each Mass to last for 40 minutes to an hour. Parishioners would be seated one meter apart and on alternate pew, giving ample room for the Extraordinary Communion Ministers to give Communion. In this way, parishioners do not have to queue up to receive Communion. 

He also urged the people to be patient and to cooperate with the volunteers, and to avoid getting into an argument as it is difficult to work like that.

Fr Lo announced that the registration for subsequent Masses are opened throughout the RMCO period, and encouraged the people to continue to come. Coupons for Masses are not transferable to other people.

Three Masses on Sundays will be available at SHC throughout the RMCO and are scheduled as follows: Chinese Mass at 7.00am, English Mass at 10.30am and BM Mass at 2.00pm.

Morning Mass has also reopened daily at the main Church at 6.00am, Monday to Saturday, it is also live streamed via their Facebook page Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish KK. Meanwhile live broadcast of weekend Masses continues to be provided online at their Youtube channel Sacred Heart Cathedral Kota Kinabalu.