KOTA KINABALU: Catholic churches in Sabah have opted to sprinkle the ashes on church-goers heads instead of drawing a cross on their foreheads during this year's Ash Wednesday mass.
The deviation from the usual practice, according to the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish priest Father Paul Lo, is to reduce the risk of spreading diseases by eliminating any physical contact when applying the ash, especially during the current Covid-19 outbreak.
The church has also stopped providing holy water at church or chapel entrances for the time being.
Reminders are issued every week at the church bulletin regarding these new rules and various other safety measures over the Covid-19 outbreak.
Catholics worldwide observed Ash Wednesday on Feb 26 this year.
It also marks the beginning of Lent (a 40-day fasting and abstinence), the run-up to Easter.