On 28 June 2020, we reopened our Parish for Public Masses. Since the reopening, we have been extending our invitation to all the 34 Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) within our Parish jurisdiction. Many of our BEC leaders have been taking the initiative to register their respective BEC members for the Weekend Mases according to the schedule laid down. We started off with only one mass on Sunday at 9am.
However, from the beginning of August, we have been celebrating two Masses every weekend (Saturday Sunset Mass at 6pm and Sunday Mass at 9am). This included a Tamil Mass on Sunday (2 August) at 9am. We will continue to celebrate Mass in Tamil on the first Sunday of each month so that the Tamil-speaking Parishioners will be able to participate. The first Tamil Mass saw a total of 190 Parishioners in attendance out of the 216 who registered.
The Parish Response Team (PRT) will introduce another category for our Weekend Mass participation apart from the BECs and Tamil-speaking Parishioners. This new category of Parishioners will include all Catechism teachers and their high school students, RCIA facilitators and the candidates, as well as the youth. They will be invited to join Sunday Mass at least once a month. These Parishioners have always been involved in the various activities of our Church before the Movement Control Order (MCO) and quite a number of them have been unable to attend Mass in person since the start of the restrictions. By including them as a group for Mass once a month, this will create an opportunity for them to be in the presence of the Eucharist in-person, instead of just watching the live-stream mass.
Ever since the suspension of catechism classes, the teachers have taken the initiative to reach out to their students by conducting online classes, while parents are encouraged to assist, connect and cultivate faith education at home, since parents are the primary faith-educators of their children. Taking into consideration the need to connect and integrate our children with their faith in the Catholic Church, the PRT has taken the initiative to gather them for Mass this Sunday, 9 August 2020. The targeted groups or ministries include:
- Catechetical Ministry – Catechism teachers and their students who are 13-years old and above.
- Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) – The facilitators and candidates of year 2019/2020. These candidates are waiting to receive their Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist which will take place by the end of August 2020.
- EduCare Ministry – There are several teachers who volunteer themselves helping out students from underprivileged families to cope with their school subjects.
- Youth ministry – Young adults from colleges and universities and working single adults.
The Catholic Bishops of Peninsular Malaysia have suspended all religious or faith education, all meetings, gatherings, formations, RCIA sessions, activities and events in the Church due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Even though schools have reopened in our country, the Church in Peninsular Malaysia has decided not to restart sessions/classes for these most vulnerable group of students, for the time being. We simply do not want to put “at risk placing further pressure on our heavily strained health services,” (Pastoral Letter from Catholic Bishops of Peninsular Malaysia, 12 March 2020).
“Parents have the first responsibility for education of their children,” (CCC #2223) and parents also have responsibility in educating their children in religious sentiments in line with the Church by guiding them in the light of the Church. “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy