Covid-19: Roman Catholic churches in KL awaiting clarification on NSC approval for reopening in green zones

A general view of St John’s cathedral in Kuala Lumpur March 14, 2020. The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur has decided its dispensation for Roman Catholics from attending prayers including Sunday Mass will remain in force. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
A general view of St John’s cathedral in Kuala Lumpur March 14, 2020. The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur has decided its dispensation for Roman Catholics from attending prayers including Sunday Mass will remain in force. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur has decided its dispensation for Roman Catholics from attending prayers including Sunday Mass will remain in force, even after the authorities permit the churches to slowly resume.

The archdiocese’s communications and media relations officer Patricia Pereira said they have yet to receive confirmation from the authorities concerning the National Security Council’s (NSC) approval in reopening places of worship located in green zones, following its standard operating procedures (SOP).

“We have no news with regards to churches that had been selected, nor are we privy to the criteria for selection apart from the requirement that the church must be located in a green zone,” she said in a statement.

Pereira added the Catholic Church has already submitted a list of churches from several dioceses under the Bishops Conference of Malaysia to the National Unity Ministry.

“The Catholic Church is aware that our members are eagerly waiting to return to their respective churches but we would ask them to be patient. We must weigh different considerations before we decide to reopen our churches.

“The main reasons being compliance with the restrictions imposed by the government, current development of this health crisis which remains volatile, advice of our medical and public health consultants, capacity of the identified parishes to meet the demands of the SOPs, and other public health protocols,” she said.

The Church will continue to provide spiritual support to its community through various initiatives, such as the live streaming of masses.

“Let us continue to pray for our frontliners, especially those who are in health care and let us never abandon our trust in God to bring about a resolution to this crisis,” Pereira said.

Yesterday Council of Churches Malaysia general-secretary Rev Hermen Shastri announced that its heads of churches have decided to continue keeping their places of worship closed until the MCO is lifted, with assurance from the Health Ministry that Covid-19 no longer poses a threat to the general public.

Last week Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism deputy president Jagir Singh said the council is cooperating with the ministry and NSC in formulating guidelines for non-Muslim places of worship once it has been deemed fit for them to reopen.

Related Articles