An announcement came out late yesterday afternoon from the Alberta Bishops regarding what the Church is doing during these strange and difficult times. In the Archdiocese of Edmonton, Archbishop Smith released a letter explaining what’s going to happen (and some of the rationale behind it) as the Church is doing her part to comply with the directives from Alberta Health Services. Among the highlights:
- Public Masses have been canceled until further notice. Because most priests say Mass everyday, Masses will still be celebrated but won’t be open to the public.
- We have been dispensed from our Sunday obligation for as long as these measures are in place.
- Those preparing to celebrate Sacraments (both kids and adults) are seeing their preparation paused. This includes those in the RCIA program who were planning to be Baptized/Confirmed at the Easter Vigil.
All of this might leave you wondering how do we maintain the practice of our faith during these times? Here’s a few thoughts to help you get started:
- Sunday Masses are being streamed from numerous sources. This includes my own parish at Holy Trinity, where Fr. Paul Moret will be streaming at 9am on Sunday morning (see www.trinitycatholic.net) and St. Joseph’s Basilica in Edmonton who will be streaming their Mass with Archbishop Smith at 10:30am each Sunday morning. You can view it on the Archdiocese’s Facebook site at: http://Facebook.com/archedmonton (and will be available to watch later in the day as well.)
- Word on Fire is streaming Masses daily with either Bishop Robert Barron or Fr. Steve Grunow at https://www.wordonfire.org/daily-mass/
Beyond Mass, what can you do?
- If you don’t have a habit of prayer, start one. Make it simple but consistent. My pastor often encourages students to start with something small in the morning and something small immediately before bed – but make it something you can commit to, and can actually do. Things like a decade of the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, or even just an ‘Our Father.’ By doing so you’re putting signposts in your day to remember that we don’t face this challenge alone.
- One of the things you could do is to spend some time readings scripture. There’s an app from Novalis called “Living with Christ” (iOS/Android) that has the daily readings- this is a great place to start. Alternatively, a you could read your way through a Gospel, one chapter a day. If you aren’t sure where to start, I’ve got a few suggestions for you.
- Many parish churches remain open during the day if you want to stop in or a moment of peace and prayer. Likewise, if you or someone in your family needs the Confession, the Sacrament of the sick, or a chance to talk thing through with a priest, you can contact your parish and setup an appointment.
As a last note, when you participate in the Mass remotely at the time of Communion it is appropriate to make what’s called “an act of spiritual communion.” Basically, you’re uniting yourself to God through prayer when you’re unable to be united with Him by receiving Holy Communion. Here are two options you might consider:
I wish, my Lord, to receive you with the purity, humility, and devotion with which your most holy Mother received you, with the spirit and fervor of the saints. Amen.St. Josemaria Escriva
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.St. Alphonsus Liguori
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.
As we journey through these days, may we not forget that the God who loves us remains with us. Pray for all in leadership (civic leaders, medical authorities, and those in our Church), for those most impacted by Covid-19 – both due to illness, and those negatively impacted by the measures in place, and for one another as we navigate through these trying times.