KUALA LUMPUR: The extension of the Movement Control Order will result in no public masses in all Catholic churches in the country during the holiest season in the church’s calendar this year.
The Catholic Bishops of Malaysia today announced that all liturgical celebrations for Holy Week in April have been cancelled.
Holy Week contains the most important services of the year for Roman Catholics, including Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter, the day when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Holy Thursday this year falls on April 9.
“As our prime minister had announced today, the period of restricted movement under the Movement Control Order (MCO) has been extended to April 14 2020,” said Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia president Most Reverend Julian Leow Beng Kim in a pastoral letter.
“This extension,” he noted, “unavoidably coincides with the holiest season in our Church’s liturgical Calendar, Holy Week.
“In view of the restrictions placed under the extension of the MCO and the prohibitions of public gatherings, we the archbishops of the three archdioceses and six dioceses of Malaysia, hereby decree that the liturgical celebrations until April 14, 2020, including that of Holy Week, will be done without the congregation by the priests of the various archdioceses.”
Leow, who is also Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, said while everyone had been patiently waiting and praying for a resolution to this present crisis, the church was humbly asking that everyone waited a little longer.
“Let us continue to plead for God’s mercy, make reparation for our sins and ask for His intervention, not only for ourselves but also those who have been affected by this pandemic, the frontline health professionals and security personnel and all those who continue to ensure that our essential services and supply lines are open and available,” he added.