Faithful following Online Mass at home during Movement Control Order

By Sr Bibianah Dunsia

This is a compilation of some significant and interesting faith experiences of the faithful following the press release on the temporary suspension of Holy Mass in the churches in accordance to the movement control Order (MCO) imposed by the government as a safety measure against the spread of deadly virus called COVID-19.

Feeling secure by participating in online Mass

Sylvrina Sylvester Motiung – During this MCO, nothing beats the secure feeling of being able to join the online Mass in the comfort of our home. For me, as long as I can still see the altar, receive the Holy Communion, though spiritually, it is good enough.  It is very saddening that the Nation has come to this stage. Anyway, as responsible citizens, this is the best we can do to break the chain, and finally, claim our victory over this deadly virus. We can do this together. In God, we trust, because He never abandons us.

Ambivalent feelings

St Michael Parishioner – I am following the Online English Mass broadcasted live by Sacred Heart Cathedral. I felt happy to be able to ‘participate’ in the Mass. At the same time, feeling some kind of sadness and emptiness because unable to receive Holy Communion.  However, I was more ‘attentive’ in the Mass and inspired to spend more time for personal reflection after the online Mass.

Wonderful alternative during this unique time

SHC Parishioner – Growing up in Malaysia, I was never stopped from going for Mass and had taken the freedom and the experience of Mass for granted. But this lockdown has made me realize what a big part Mass played in my life. Not attending Mass leaves me very unsettled.

When Sacred Heart Cathedral offered online Mass, I was curious and joined. It was a wonderful alternative during this unique time and is a welcome respite to my spirit and soul during this unexpected lockdown which coincidentally falls during the season of Lent.

I opened a Facebook account to follow online Mass

Catherine Chung LOM SHC – I do follow the Mass online via the SHC Facebook. As you know l don’t use Facebook. Due to the online Mass, l forced myself to use Facebook by opening an account. Anyway to attend Mass in Church, is definitely the best. Whereas, attending Mass at home, we have to be very focused in a quiet room with no distractions. Then we are more focused in the Mass like we are attending in the Church. Moreover, we miss the Eucharist but we have a beautiful prayer to console us…even if we can’t receive the Body of Christ. We do believe and feel the same (either in Church or at home), the presence of God with us as we pray to Him.

Feeling anxious due to the temporary suspension of Mass and our country’s situation

Anonymous Religious Sister – When I read the official announcement about the temporary suspension of the celebration of Holy Mass in the Churches on Mar 13, I felt so sad and anxious. Firstly of being deprived from attending the daily Mass the source of our spiritual nourishment but more so to know that the situation of our country in terms of environment and health has gone so bad that it’s no longer safe for us to go around.

Indeed, it’s alarming to know that what I have been reading about the severity of the effects of the coronavirus in other countries is no longer a distant happening. The tidal wave of the virus has reached our country as well. Though we are not quite ready to face this health challenge, we cannot run away. We learn to accept the  reality and live the moment with faith and courage.

Thanks be to God that there are initiatives on the part of the Church to find other means to extend pastoral care to the faithful during this time by having the live broadcasting of Masses on weekends and on some important feast days. Mass streamed online does not replace the reception of the Eucharist, but still it is a powerful experience of prayer and unity with my brothers and sisters everywhere in this e-church environment made possible for us with the advancement of digital technology.

Deeply touched by following Mass in my own house

Donald Stephens – Yes I follow the online streaming of Sacred Heart Cathedral KK Mass. I am deeply touched that I can follow the Mass in my own house. I feel in communion with others and look forward to the Mass. Honestly many times in the past I lacked motivation to attend Mass. In a way I feel fortunate to have this time for prayer and participate in Mass.

I’m in the Neo-Cat and we have our teams meet on Wednesday and Saturday on zoom video-conferencing. We are actually happy to see each other and to be able to interact with others.

Prayers emerge online rapidly through live streamed videos

Joseph Selestine, CMI – Over the years I have been enjoying the privilege of choosing to attend the Holy Mass according to the time that suits me unlike in many places where the faithful lack this opportunity.

With all public Masses suspended in parishes due to the coronavirus, Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu are using digital tools to sustain their faith. Masses, rosaries, holy hours and prayer groups have emerged rapidly online through live streamed videos.

This virus is beginning to bring this world to apply a different set of behaviours and practices. Initially I wasn’t sure how this will turn out to be. I took the opportunity to attend online Masses from the Archdiocese of KL and Penang before attending our KK online Mass. I should say I enjoyed the Mass and felt good about it, especially the KL Masses, as they have hymns also during the Mass.  This is indeed one of the blessings of modern technology utilised for spiritual sustenance.

We gather in the family room for Mass

Amanda Soo – Following the live stream Mass is a nice experience, we all gathered in the family room. It’s very much still a group feeling of going to Mass. It is a good way to help people feel connected with Christ the Lord even though we are under a pandemic situation.  

Strange and hard at first

Judy Mak – I followed the Online Mass streamed live by SHC for two sunset masses, the Solemnity of St Joseph and the Solemnity of the Annunciation. For daily morning mass I follow either St Theresa Tambunan 6.15 am Bahasa Mass or Diocese of Miri English Mass around 7.30-8am.

It’s strange at first and hard to focus because of frequent line interruptions with SHC broadcast. There was no interruption of line connection with St Teresa and Diocese of Miri live-stream.

I also joined the online daily Adoration 7am (Malaysia time) followed with the Divine Mercy led by Fr Frank Pavone, a National Director Priest for Life in the USA, and it truly gives one peace of mind. I still prefer the actual Mass as we all grew up with it.  

The sermons from the priests are God’s message for the day and the spiritual communion gives me strength to start my day as we don’t know what to expect each day. We can plan and plan ahead but if it’s not with God’s blessings all will come to nothing.

The Eucharist reminds me Christ is there and I can trust him in faith to lead me and my family. He is there to protect us from harm. My prayers were answered when my two sons arrived home safely in Kota Kinabalu before the lockdown in the current place where they are both studying; Sarawak and Ireland.

Prepare like I would in an actual Mass

Catherine C. Engsun – Yes, I follow the Live Mass streaming both from Sacred Heart Cathedral and from other broadcasting channels like Bishop Barron’s at https://www.wordonfire.org.  

It is just like I’m participating in the actual Mass itself as I do ensure that the surroundings where I am when the streaming is on, is quiet and with minimal distractions.

I prepare myself too before the live Mass just like attending an actual Mass in the church or the chapel.  

Receiving communion spiritually makes attending the live Mass even more meaningful. Reciting the prayer makes me emotionally prepared when receiving it.  

Due to the MCO, as much as I want to be physically present in the actual Mass, I know it is not possible, therefore for me personally, attending live streamed Masses are as good and I will continue to attend daily / weekly Masses online.   

It’s a quieter environment

Eva J.D, SPCR – I think following the live-streamed Mass allows me to hear the readings and homily more clearly because of the quieter environment and less people around you. Nevertheless distraction comes also in other forms whereby if you follow the live-streamed Mass in Facebook, the incoming Facebook notifications can be a disturbance but it’s unavoidable unless you use full screen mode. I do feel and sense God’s presence but I still prefer physically attend Mass in the church.

They participate in the Mass by listening to their neighbour’s audio

A couple from St Michael Penampang shared that their neighbour put a loudspeaker to their television or computer set and so even though they  didn’t physically join them in their house for the Online Mass, they were able to participate by just listening from their home.  

They just sat down quietly and followed the whole Mass broadcasted from Singapore. Though they didn’t see anything the sound was clear and loud enough for them to hear. Though feeling somehow sad for not being able to go to Church as the normal practice every Sunday, they were thankful for the opportunity to join the Mass from afar and they felt closely united with other brothers and sisters of the same faith. 

We receive Him spiritually

APC Evelyn Perete – I follow the online Mass broadcasted live from SHC and other channels as well like Cahaya Kinabalu, EWTN and others. What struck me most in the online Mass is the Act of Spiritual Communion. Though we cannot receive Jesus sacramentally, we can always receive Him spiritually. And indeed it is consoling to know that Jesus is always with us and He never wants us to be separated from God. In God we trust. Amen.

I pray that soon we will attend Mass in Church again

Noreen CMI Parishoner – So far I have participated three online Masses only. I placed a candle and the Crucifix on my coffee table in front of the TV. I stood and knelt at the appropriate time. I felt ‘touched’ when praying the spiritual communion prayer. I pray that soon we would be able to attend Mass in our church again.

Online Mass is a fulfilling experience

Ruben Sario – My wife Lena, daughter Carmelita and I followed the live stream of Masses from SHC. Initially I felt a bit strange to participate the Mass from home while looking at my laptop computer since it was the first time for us to do this. But as the Mass proceeded, I felt a sense of comfort, listening to the readings, saying the familiar prayers and giving the responses. I miss receiving the Holy Eucharist but nevertheless following the Mass online was a fulfilling experience.

The best part is there is not much distraction

Hector C – I followed the live-streamed Mass by SHC. It certainly is different doing it from the comfort of home but the best part is that there is not much distraction.  It is a great effort by SHC SOCCOM team to broadcast the online Mass. I look forward to the next one.