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Jakarta Archdiocese reopens churches for Sunday masses

Four-month Covid-19 hiatus ends but with strict social distancing conditions in place

Jakarta Archdiocese reopens churches for Sunday masses

Parishioners wearing face masks and observing social distancing attend the first public Mass on July 12 at Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral Church in Jakarta since the archdiocese reopened churches after a four-month closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo: Katharina R. Lestari/UCA News)

Published: July 13, 2020 05:15 AM GMT

Updated: July 13, 2020 05:56 AM GMT

Jakarta Archdiocese held its first public Sunday masses in nearly four months on July 12 after they were closed in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Only three out of 66 parishes were allowed to reopen their churches, and capacity was limited to only 20 percent.

The parishes — Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral Church in Jakarta, St. Albert the Great Parish in Bekasi and Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Tangerang — had all met the health and safety requirements set out by the archdiocese in order to reopen.

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Other parishes are still preparing necessary measures for the “new normal.”

“Public Eucharistic celebrations are held in several rounds. Parishes, which have obtained approval from the archdiocese after meeting all the requirements, are allowed to reopen their churches for the first round,” Father Vincentius Adi Prasojo, the archdiocese’s secretary-general, said in a video message.

“After an evaluation, other parishes [which have obtained approval from the archdiocese after meeting all requirements] may reopen their churches,” he said.

Requirements included the providing of washbasins, use of body temperature scanners, social distancing and the wearing of face masks.

“We suggest parishioners self-assess whether they are healthy enough to attend a public Sunday Mass,” Father Prasojo said, adding that each parishioner must register on the archdiocese website before attending Mass.

Jesuit Father Bernardus Christian Triyudo Prastowo, head of the Covid-19 committee at Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral Church in Jakarta, said only parishioners aged between 18-59 can attend Mass at present.

“The total number of parishioners allowed to attend Mass in the Cathedral Church is 290, or 20 percent of its capacity. This excludes 19 non-liturgical servants,” he said.

Jesuit Father Albertus Hani Rudi Hartoko from the Cathedral Church, said in a video message that the church will hold Mass only once on Sunday at 9 am.

“We will continue to live-stream Sunday masses,” he said.

Speaking to UCA News, Melva Herawati Sirait, a Cathedral Church parishioner, said a live-streamed Mass was not the same as being in church.

“I missed receiving Holy Communion,” she said.

Commenting on the new health protocols, she said: “They are something I have to follow. It is an obligation now.”

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