Fr Paul Lo at Mass when SHC reopened the Church during RMCO July 12 last year

By Agnes Chai

Jan 4 2021

KOTA KINABALU – Pope Francis has expressed admiration for the apostolic spirit of so many priests “who stood by their people in caring and daily sharing: they were a sign of God’s consoling presence.”

Because of their “pastoral zeal and creative solitude”, people have not stopped feeling community even though they have not been able to participate in liturgical celebrations during many months of lockdown by the pandemic.

Their creativity and maturity in dealing with the extreme situation of difficulty and suffering have helped people to continue on the path of faith and not to remain alone in the face of pain and fear. (Source: Vatican News)

Unfortunately, the coronavirus that is threatening the world knows no religion. It has climbed the fences of the churches’ compounds and come to the doorstep of the clergy who live there despite them adopting the strictest precautionary measures.

On Dec 31, Archbishop John Wong made a public announcement after the live streamed New Year Eve Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral that parish priest Fr Paul Lo, who lives in the rectory of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, has been tested positive and required hospitalization.

Following the strict requirement of the authorities, the four assistant priests who live with him in the rectory, as well as the parish staff who were in close contact with Fr Paul, were also required to be tested.

The parish would be closed for two weeks for sanitization works, and is expected to reopen on Jan 16 with the Sunset Mass. During the closure, all parish activities are banned but daily and Sunday Masses continue to be offered through live streaming from the parish’s Facebook and YouTube channel platforms.

The Archbishop called on the faithful to pray for Fr Paul, for himself, for priests, religious, healthcare workers and others on the front lines who are committed to the service of the common good.

“All this cannot happen without the grace, without the mercy of God,” Pope Francis said. “How is it possible… that so many people, without any other reward than of doing good, found the strength to be concerned about others?”

For this reason, the pope, as he reflects on 2020, urges the people to give praise to God because “we believe and we know that all the good that is accomplished day after day on earth, in the end, comes from God.” (Source: Vatican News)