Chicago, Ill., Mar 16, 2020 / 03:00 pm (CNA).- With public Masses suspended in many U.S. dioceses due to the outbreak of COVID-19, many bishops and pastors have suggested that Catholics can benefit from increased personal prayer, and watching a live broadcast of Mass while making a spiritual communion from home.
Fr. Dan Folwaczny, associate pastor at St. Norbert and Our Lady of the Brook Parish in Northbrook, IL, told CNA that it was one way for Catholics to stay connected with the parish and the Church, even if they cannot gather together.
Folwaczny’s parish decided to begin live-streaming Mass after the Archdiocese of Chicago suspended public liturgies, and celebrating Mass to a nearly-empty room is “definitely kind of strange,” Folwaczny told CNA on Monday, March 16.
“Normally, when you are saying the prayers, it’s very easy to look out over the congregation and see who’s there and you know, what comes to mind,” he said, explaining that being able to see the assembly helps to remind him of the circumstances of individual parishioners and remember them in his prayers.
While churches are closed for the time being, Fr. Folwaczny echoed the encouragement of many priests and bishops for the faithful to tune into Mass if possible, and to make a spiritual communion.
A spiritual communion, he explained, “is a way for us to say, okay, whatever the reason is, I can’t receive communion at this moment.”
“But what happens at communion? We enter into this deep relationship, this presence of the grace of Jesus Christ and in the Eucharist in particular, His body and soul and divinity. And so as Catholics, we want that. We want that deep communion with our God. But again, it’s not always possible,” he said.
When making a spiritual communion, the person “asks God in prayer in those moments when He knows that this thing is not possible for us at this time, to still come into our hearts at least spiritually, to come into our lives, to continue to fill us with the grace that we need to be sustained, even though we can’t receive the Eucharist at this time,” Folwaczny explained.
For most of the Church’s history–until the early 20th century–Catholics did not habitually receive the Eucharist every Sunday. Folwaczny told CNA that he hopes this uncertain time of suspended Masses and decreased physical access to the sacraments will help Catholics “enter into a deeper solidarity with those around the world” who still lack access to regular Masses, either because of the remoteness of where they live, a shortage of priests, or the threat of violence.
Fr. Folwaczny told CNA that Catholics should still remember to keep the Sabbath holy even though there may be no chance to physically attend a Mass.
“Set aside time on Sunday or Saturday evening to go through the readings for the day, to try and pray together as a family, or if they don’t have others living with them, to pray on their own,” he said.
“The hope is that with this access now to live streaming, that it’s a way too that people can hear from their own pastors and their own priests. And I think that’s something that still matters to your average parishioner, that they can still feel a sense of connection.”
If your parish is not live-streaming Mass, here are five places Mass can be streamed or watched, in a variety of time zones, languages, and rites:
EWTN’s YouTube Channel contains videos of nearly all of the television channel’s programming, including daily and Sunday Masses. It can be found here.
LiveMass.net is an apostolate of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), and the website streams the Tridentine Mass (also known as the extraordinary form) five times each weekday and eight times each Sunday. In addition to Masses, the website also occasionally streams compline, vespers, and a Holy Hour. An exact schedule can be found on their website.
Catholic Information Center
The Catholic Information Center, an apostolate of the Opus Dei located in Washington, D.C., will be streaming daily Mass, as well as a rosary and Eucharistic adoration, each weekday on their website, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, starting at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Click here for their YouTube channel.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the seat of the Archbishop of Los Angeles, streams Mass live in both English and Spanish on Sundays, and in English throughout the week. Past Masses are then uploaded to the cathedral’s YouTube channel.
Archdiocese of Chicago
Due to the threat of COVID-19, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced that daily Mass from St. Joseph’s Chapel will be streamed each day starting March 17. Sunday Mass is streamed in English, Spanish, and Polish on the archdiocese’s website.