Singapore, Hong Kong Catholic dioceses cancel Mass

Coronavirus and the threat of its spreading through populations is resulting in many religious leaders cancelling services and suggesting the faithful follow services online.

There will be no masses in Hong Kong before the end of this month, while in Singapore masses have been suspended until further notice.

Similarly, the Churches are suspending large public events such as formation sessions, retreats and seminars.

Hong Kong is home to around 500,000 Catholics out of a total population of over 7 million, while in Singapore Catholics make up 300,000 of the city-state’s 5.6 million people.

“The Church, being a member of society, has the duty to maintain public hygiene and promote the common good. Therefore, Parish Priests, the other parish clergy and the faithful are to strictly comply,” Hong Kong’s Cardinal John Tong Hon Tong said.

Follow-up measures would be announced before the end of the month, he said.

As they cannot go to mass, Tong encouraged Hong Kong’s faithful to watch Sunday Mass online, make a spiritual Communion, reflect on the Sunday liturgical text, read the Bible, or say the rosary each Sunday.

He also suggested that the faithful watch ferial Masses online, or make Lenten devotions or spiritual exercises, such as the rosary, the Angelus, and daily prayer.

“Parish churches and affiliated chapels are to remain open to the faithful for personal prayers and visits to the Blessed Sacrament,” Tong said.

“Parish churches may also arrange for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament daily or on specific days, so that individual members of the faithful may take part and pray that the coronavirus infections will be contained as soon as possible.”

Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye told Singapore’s 220,000 Catholic residents that the “the cancellation of Masses does not mean that Catholics can excuse themselves from fulfilling the obligation of keeping the Day of the Lord holy.

“They should try to follow the broadcast of the Mass on YouTube or CatholicSG Radio,” he added. He asked that people please check the archdiocesan website for the broadcast’s time.

“Following the broadcast of the Mass will help you to receive the Lord spiritually,” he said. “You can also gather as a family for the Liturgy of the Word by spending time in prayer, reading the Word of God of the Sunday Liturgy and interceding for the world that this Covid-19 virus will be contained and eradicated.

“Even if you cannot gather together as a family to worship, you should individually spend at least half an hour in quiet time to pray and especially read the Word of God,” Goh said.

Other Christian and Buddhist groups in Singapore have begun to record their services and rituals in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, while the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore has also encouraged mosques to do so for events.

Every Nation Church and Paya Lebar Methodist Church are two of the churches that will broadcast their upcoming Sunday services.


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