Sacred Heart Cathedral in Kota Kinabalu. (Photo: Wikimapia)
Young Catholics in Malaysia are busy giving spiritual support to medical workers after the Southeast Asian country recorded an alarming increase in the number of positive Covid-19 cases.
The youngsters in the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah state on the island of Borneo held a night prayer service under Father Paul Lo, parish priest of Sacred Heart Cathedral.
They prayed for health workers and for all those who have been affected by Covid-19, local media reported on Oct. 26.
The night vigil, broadcast live on social media, garnered more than 10,000 views. Two Catholic doctors shared their experiences of handling pandemic patients. They offered their testimonies, encouraging all to follow health protocols.
While sharing her reflection, Jennifer, a young participant, wondered when the lives of young people would become normal again.
"When can we go out again? When can we go to Mass again? The coronavirus is revealing our fears: the fear of loss, death, uncertainty, insecurity. Is there still hope?" she asked.
Father Lo read a passage from the Bible in the local Bahasa Malaysia language and in Mandarin. His reflection stressed the value of hope.
"Even if we may feel powerless and discouraged by everything that is happening, we must continue to pray because it is our only weapon at the moment. We must continue to hope in Jesus," the priest told the Vatican's Fides News.
Malaysia reported more than 800 new coronavirus cases on Oct. 28, with more than 11,500 in the past two weeks as cases began to spiral in the second wave of the pandemic. The total number of infections in the country has reached more than 29,400. Officially, the pandemic had killed 246 people as of Oct. 29.
As Malaysia faces its Covid-19 battle, a political crisis has cropped up. The king on Oct. 25 rejected a proposal by embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to declare a state of emergency to fight the coronavirus.
Muhyiddin's plan, which involved suspending parliament, sparked national ire, with critics slamming the move as undemocratic.
The palace said in a statement that Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah believes "that there is currently no need for His Majesty to declare a state of emergency in this country or any part of Malaysia."
A two-week lockdown announced earlier this month will be extended until Nov. 9, minister of security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.
The government has imposed curbs including the closure of schools and religious places.
The Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur suspended public Masses on Oct. 7 in churches within the capital and Selangor state.
The archdiocese said its crisis management task force has taken up additional health measures to prevent the risk of Covid-19 transmission.