To all Penampang Parishioners,
Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are in the season of Lent. Last Wednesday we were supposed to have the online streaming Mass for Ash Wednesday at 7.00 pm. However, it was delayed 45 minutes due to the breakdown of electricity. Nevertheless, we managed to air the mass via Kat. Lewis’ Facebook personal account using his humble mobile phone. Of course, the quality was not like our usual online streaming mass but we are thankful to God for having given us the alternative. Electricity supply only resumed about half and hour after the mass was over.
My heart goes to all parishioners who had been waiting eagerly to participate in the online streaming mass. Our parish YouTube recorded that there were more than 21 thousand viewers before the power failure. Honestly, I was quite upset but despite all these I am touched with the efforts of many parishioners who kept on posting in our WhatsApp groups the links of other parishes’ live streaming Ash Wednesday Masses. That’s the spirit of Lent!
I understand that despite the efforts many parishioners were still unable to participate in the Ash Wednesday Online Mass. Some of them even requested to have another online streaming Ash Wednesday Mass. I am sorry but I would not do that. I want people to understand that it is not so much about the physical mark of ashes but our sincere repentance that makes our Lenten journey meaningful. After all, there is no such thing as Ash Thursday or Ash Friday. No worries, it is not a sin not being able to participate in the Ash Wednesday Online Mass unless it was done on purpose. We can always make it up by seriously observing the 40 days of Lenten season.
This Sunday is the 1st Sunday of Lent. I regret to inform you that all churches/chapels under Penampang parish would still not be open for Sunday Masses/Sunday Services. There are two reasons for it:
1). We were not sure whether the MCO would be extended or not. And even if it was not, we would not know the number of people allowed to attend mass. It is clear now that attendance for Church religious activities is permitted with ⅓ capacity of the Church. But by the time it was officially announced, online registration would be too late to manage.
2). The Rite of Election for our catechumens has been already fixed this Sunday prior to the update of MCO. Every year this rite had been conducted in Sacred Heart Cathedral by His Grace Archbishop John Wong. All parishes would send over their catechumens to the cathedral to enrol in this ceremony. After the Rite of Election catechumens would be called the Elects. But this year, due to the MCO, we are not allowed to continue with the normal practice. Hence, it has to be conducted by the individual parish priest in his own parish. This time around we have 40 catechumens. Let us pray for their perseverance.
That being said, we will only resume on 27th February 2021 (Sunset Masses) and 28th February 2021 (Sunday Masses). Since attendance will be restricted to those 10 years old and above, the online streaming mass will still be continued at 8.00 am. Parishioners with health issues and young children are advised to participate in the online streaming mass. There will be a drive through Holy Communion at St Michael’s Church, Penampang but only for those who have participated in the online mass earlier on.
Altar Servers are allowed to serve in the mass but limited to 3 persons at a time and those above 10 years old.
Every zone is expected to arrange church frontliners and wardens at every mass so as to ensure that the SOP will be observed.
We will be organising the online streaming Stations of the Cross every Friday starting next week. Parish SocCoM will announced the details earliest by this coming Monday.
I would like to remind all of you about the Lenten Appeal For the Poor and Needy. Lenten Envelopes are available at the mission office. Otherwise, online transaction would also be possible. Please indicate your donation as Lenten Donation. The donation will be sent to the Archdiocesan Office and distributed to the poor. However, if you have information about very poor individuals or families in our parish please contact the mission office or your Kg. Catholic Community.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone for the generous response to the recent parish donation appeal. Be assured of my prayers.
Blessed Lenten Season!
Fr. Wilfred Atin
19th February 2021