Archbishop John Wong at Ask Wednesday Mass in St Paul Dontozidon, Feb 26

By Catholic Sabah

February 27, 2020

Pastoral Recommendations for Lent 2020

KOTA KINABALU (CS) – The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu has given pastoral instructions to the faithful regarding the Sacrament of Penance, also called the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent.

As a prudent precaution against the possible spread of the COVID-19, the numerous and close personal contact which individual confessions involve is to be avoided.

To enable the faithful to avail the salvific remedy of the sacrament, Archbishop John Wong has issued certain pastoral recommendations, released on February 23, for the guidance of all priests and parishes in the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu. See below the pastoral letter.

ALTHOUGH dates and times for the yearly Penitential Services in the parishes for Lent (beginning from Mar 2) have been published, all priests and parishes in the Archdiocese are to observe the following instruction:

  1. A) Dates and times as published for the Penitential Services in the parishes are to remain.
  2. B) Penitential Service shall be celebrated as usual, with a full Liturgy of the Word (two readings one of which should be from the Gospel), Homily, aid for the Examination of Conscience, and Act of Contrition.
  3. C) A common Penance decided by the priest shall then be imposed on all, which is to be done/fulfilled by each Penitent.
  4. D) Instead of personal confession however, the priest presiding shall give General Absolution to all present.
  5. E) The presiding priest is to instruct Penitents who have committed grave sins to go to Individual Confession as soon as it is available. To facilitate this, taking note of the prevailing condition of the COVID-19 epidemic in the near future, parishes may organize and schedule times for individual confessions in their respective parishes at the appropriate time.

We wish everyone a joyous and fruitful Lent.

Depending on the development of the COVID-19 epidemic, other appropriate instructions may be given by the Archdiocese in the near future.

Archbishop John Wong
Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu