Mass During COVID-19 by Rachel Penate From LifeTeen.com

When the Diocese of Phoenix made their announcement for the suspension of all public Masses and the dispensation of the Sunday obligation, my heart sank. Absolutely sank.

It’s really happening, I thought. We are actually starting a Eucharistic fast… how am I going to feel without the Eucharist?

For a few weeks, this announcement had been inching closer, as our country finds new ways to collectively fight the spread of COVID-19. I mean I knew it was coming — I saw it on the horizon — but, I’m going to be honest, I didn’t think it would actually come to fruition. Receiving the Eucharist and participating at Mass has always been such an important part of my faith journey, and at first glance, the suspension of public Masses really does feel like a loss. But, God’s will is here, now.

It is present in every single moment. And this present moment is offering a brand new opportunity to connect with Christ and each other in some pretty cool ways.

We are living through an historic experience, but we are living through this experience in a time that it’s so incredibly easy to connect online. While abstaining from public Mass is an enormous loss — our ability to participate digitally (in this 21st century age of Live Streaming and video recording) is a huge gain. If you, too, find yourself in a diocese that has suspended public Masses, take a look at what we’ve prepared for you below, where you can find ways to still participate in the holy sacrifice. And, be at peace. We will get through this together.

Participating in the Mass Remotely: A How-To

Just as you would prepare your mind, body, and heart for Mass on any given Sunday, it is strongly encouraged that you don’t let these good habits of preparation go during this time.

Prior to Mass Starting:

  1. Pray and read the readings ahead of time.
  1. Engage in discussion about the readings. Consider reading and discussing the readings with your family at home (or friends over the phone). Both Life Teen’s Summit and Lectio Live offer digital opportunities to discuss the Sunday readings before or after each Sunday Mass.
  1. Choose a live stream or Mass recording to watch. Since it is important to remain connected to your parish community during this time, we recommend identifying if your parish has a Live Stream of your daily or Sunday Masses. (If you don’t already know how to access this streaming service, check out your parish’s website for more information.)
  1. Get dressed. Maybe not necessarily in your “Sunday Best,” but definitely out of your pajamas.
  1. Invite others to join. Plan to pray with your family, but if they will not join you, try to virtually loop in some friends via Face Time or Zoom.
  1. Bring a journal. Have a journal and pen, and be ready to write any of your thoughts, reflections, or prayers as you go through the Mass. This can be a great way to organize your prayer and remain engaged throughout the live stream of the Mass.
  1. Set the scene. Do what you can to create a space set apart for prayer — of course, you’ll have your computer, streaming the Mass, but consider lighting a few candles, and if you have any sacred images or statues around the house, bring them into the space you’ll be praying in. If you don’t have any, try to print some out, or organize your screen in a way that lets you look at sacred images, while you see the live stream of the Mass.

Participate in all the Responses During Mass. Remember the Mass is a prayer. Even if you are not physically present at church, the prayers of the Mass are universal and translate across all time and space.

Make an Act of Spiritual Communion. An example of one is as follows: 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 in the Sacrament, 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.

After Mass Continue Tithing to your Church (or start if you don’t already!). If you and/or your family can afford to continue (or even increase) your tithe to the church at this time, find a way to continue that tithe online. Despite being “closed,” parishes’ operating costs do not change at this time. Tithing helps them to keep their buildings running and their employees paid.

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