It is a challenging time in the history of our Church, one unlike any of us have ever seen. Without the sacraments, many Catholics are finding themselves a little lost and definitely longing to receive the Eucharist and worship with the Body of Christ on Sundays. But, although these are unprecedented and trying times, there is great reason for hope and there are several things we can do to remain spiritually connected during the coronavirus outbreak.
Living during the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to become quickly familiar with online connectivity. Around the world schools are meeting online, doctors are offering more telehealth services, friends and loved ones are connecting through video chats and phone calls, and churches of every denomination are streaming their Sunday services online in an effort to continue to reach those isolated in their homes.
With this in mind, here are several resources to help you stay spiritually connected to the Church and grow in holiness during this time.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Spiritual Communion
While we cannot receive Jesus Christ in the Eucharist through a live simulcast of the Mass, we can do the next best thing: pray with the Universal Church and make a spiritual communion. But what does it mean to make a spiritual communion?
A spiritual communion is a prayer, an act of faith, in which we unite ourselves to Jesus Christ in the Eucharist although we cannot physically be with him. We pray this Act of Spiritual Communion written by St. Alphonsus Liguori:
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
During this time when we are unable to attend Mass, we should make an effort to pray this act of communion every day as part of our daily prayer. Additionally, you can join in prayer with faithful around the world by tuning into daily and Sunday Mass via live simulcasts and saved recordings. Here are several places you can find the Mass online:
- Vatican News Live Stream of Pope Francis' Masses (Daily/Sunday Mass in Italian with English subtitles)
- EWTN Daily Mass (Daily/Sunday Mass)
- Word on Fire with Bishop Barron (Daily/Sunday Mass)
- Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Sunday Mass only)
In many churches around the world, priests have gotten very creative and resourceful in order to bring the sacrament of reconciliation to the faithful. Some have set up drive-through confessions, where penitents can pull up in their car and meet the priest in the parish parking lot. Some parishes are still holding confessions in the church, but have implemented strategies to comply with CDC recommendations and keep penitents 6 feet or more away from each other. Many priests have also taken it upon themselves to make confessions by appointment available to those who need them. It is a delicate balance, keeping both our physical and spiritual health in mind, but if you need to receive the sacrament of reconciliation, check with your local parish to see what they are offering.
Other Prayers and Liturgies
Nothing can keep God from his children, and during this COVID-19 crisis the heroic and creative efforts of many priests have demonstrated exactly that. All across the globe, priests have taken Jesus to rooftops, through neighborhood streets, up in planes, and more—all in an effort to bring Jesus Christ to His people. Check with your local parish, as many are offering the faithful the opportunity to sit in Eucharistic adoration with our Lord (severely limiting the number of people allowed in the church at a time).
You can join in the prayers of the universal Church during this time, and find hope and support through your brothers and sisters in Christ. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Pray along with Pope Francis—the Pope has been occasionally calling for moments of united prayer across the world
- Read the daily Mass readings
- Attend virtual Eucharistic Adoration
- Pray the rosary every day (or a decade a day)
- Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day at 3 p.m.
- Form an online prayer group with your friends. Meet once a week over video chat to read a reflection, discuss it and ask each other how you can pray for them.
We want to pray for you.
Although public Masses have been suspended, Divine Word Missionary priests are still offering Masses for all the intentions submitted to our community. If you would like a Mass offered for your particular intention, please submit a request. We would be honored to pray for you.
Please keep us, and all of our missionaries in your prayers as well. Thank you for your prayers and support, and may God protect you and your loved ones now and always.