Coronavirus: Catholic Church to continue to suspend masses in Singapore indefinitely

The Archbishop of Singapore William Goh gives his sermon at a service at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd on Feb 14, 2020.
The Archbishop of Singapore William Goh gives his sermon at a service at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd on Feb 14, 2020.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - A week after the Catholic Church said it would be resuming Masses starting Saturday (March 14), the Archbishop of Singapore William Goh on Thursday (March 12) said public mass for Catholics here will remain suspended in order to minimise the risk of coronavirus spread.

In a letter posted on the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore's website, Archbishop Goh said with the situation being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, and coupled with the rising number of infections, masses this weekend will have to remain suspended.

Masses were first suspended on Feb 15 and will be resumed when the situation has improved and stabilised, he said.

"When I made the announcement to lift the suspension last Thursday, it was in the context of a stabilised situation... We are not helping the situation if we resume masses at this time," said the Archbishop.

This is due to the large number of Catholics in each service, the fluidity of worshippers moving from one parish to another and the large percentage of worshippers who are seniors and are of lower immunity, he explained.

"As responsible Catholics, we should be mindful that we do not do anything that might further burden the already strained healthcare system," Archbishop Goh added.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church in Malaysia will also be suspending all weekend and weekday public masses from this Friday to March 29, a pastoral letter from the bishops in Malaysia said on Thursday.

All catechism classes will also be closed, and programmes and activities will be cancelled during this period. Meetings and other events in church will also be cancelled or put on hold.

"We will continue to monitor and review the situation to determine if the above period of suspension needs to be extended beyond the 29th of March 2020," the bishops said.