Across the globe, Catholics are confronting the new realities of life that the Covid-19 pandemic is forcing upon us. Public schools and higher education institutions have closed and students are learning virtually. Retailers and restaurants have shuttered their doors. Doctors are greeting and treating their patients in the parking lot. Catholic churches have been locked, and in some places, Bishops have ordered the cancellation of all public Masses.
Without a doubt, the Celebration of the Eucharist is the lifeblood of Catholic liturgy. Our faith is built upon our deep love for the Paschal banquet and the spiritual nourishment we receive from it. So how can we maintain and practice our Catholic faith if our parishes have closed their doors and we cannot receive Holy Communion as COVID-19 continues to spread?
The absence of sacramental communion and our inability to receive the Blessed Sacrament should be viewed as a form of Lenten fast and abstinence. While this new reality surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s unknown duration might be difficult to accept, God’s grace will surely lead us in faith and charity to a deeper appreciation of the Eucharistic gift. Now is the time to explore the ways in which we can fill this void and continue to nurture our spiritual health.
As Catholics, we know we are never alone when we pray. God is always with us. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has invited Catholics worldwide to pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy is another beautiful way to engage in personal prayer.
Make Time for Daily Readings and Reflections
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has daily readings and reflections to accompany them available on their website. While most Catholics are accustomed to encountering the Scripture during organized liturgy, there is no reason to not turn to God’s Holy Word on our own.
Watch Mass Online and Engage in Family Catechesis
Many of our parishes are providing live streams of daily or Sunday Masses online. Gather your family, as you would on Sunday mornings, and watch Mass online. Participate as you would if inside the walls and pews of your own church. Use the Catechesis of the Holy Father, available through the Vatican Bulletin, to engage in faith formation as a family.
I ask you to join me, and the entire Church, in an Act of Spiritual Communion and pray together:
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.