November is a month dedicated to prayer for departed souls. Whether or not they have attained eternal life and happiness in the kingdom of God, our duty is to continue to offer Masses, prayers and a decade of the Rosary till we meet them in the glory of God. We also pray for all those have died of the Coronavirus.
Since the Sabah elections in September, we have seen a rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 cases as well as nationwide deaths. In fact, COVID-19 infections and fatalities are expected to spike in the coming weeks especially in Sabah, Klang Valley and Seremban. Across Sabah, the front-liners struggle to cope with the insurgence of COVID-19 patients. We see various organisations, institutions and individuals pulling their resources together to provide essential items such as N95 facial masks, surgical gloves, hand sanitisers, ventilators and PPE suits. All these are made possible only with kind and generous donations from the Malaysian people. We want political leaders to pay extra attention to the people, and ensure that the sick get the care and attention they need. We ask and pray that our leaders do their best to safeguard the livelihood of the people during this pandemic, instead of focusing on their own political agendas.
It upsets me to see the sudden and recent spike of COVID-19 cases in our country. In September, we were preparing our Form 5 students for the Sacrament of Confirmation which was scheduled to have taken place on 10 October 2020. Unfortunately, due to the increase in the number of Covid 19 cases, Masses have been suspended and churches in the Klang Valley have been closed once again. These students were saddened and some found it difficult to accept the cancellation of their Sacrament of Confirmation.
We were also planning to celebrate the First Holy Communion for our Standard 3 students on 22 November 2020 (34th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the last Sunday of the liturgical year 2019/2020) but I guess the suspension of Masses will continue, and the students will not be able to celebrate their Sacrament, as planned. I hope our students will understand what God is trying to say at this time of trials, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day…,” (2 Cor 4: 16-18).
During this pandemic, we have shut down our in person catechism classes for months (but classes are still held online), public Masses have been put on hold and the faithful follow the live streamed masses instead, celebration of Sacraments have been suspended and churches have been closed, especially in the Klang Valley and Negeri Sembilan. However, evangelising activities and our mission to serve those in need are still being carried out enthusiastically as planned by the Parish Integral of Human Development (PIHD) while strictly adhering to the required SOPs.
On 15 November 2020, the Universal Church will celebrate World Day of the Poor (WDP) with the theme, “Stretch Forth Your Hand To The Poor,” (Sir 7:32). The PIHD will organise the distribution of packed food and provision of groceries for the underprivileged, including our Myanmar community. We will also have ready items such as facial masks, towels and hand sanitisers for them. For the past three years, we have celebrated WDP on a grand scale but in light of COVID-19, we will keep it low-key this year. However, our mission to help and care for the underprivileged will still carry on.
The deadly virus continues spreading, “and here we are waiting for a vaccine and drugs to work,” said Peter Daszak (President of Eco-Health Alliance – an international health, environment and development organisation). Let us wait patiently in this time of global crisis, as we continue our missionary activities by sharing our spiritual and material resources with our community, especially with those who are in most need of our assistance and care.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy