Due to Covid-19, the Archbishop has had to cancel all public Masses until further notice to help limit the spread of the virus. While we can all appreciate the necessity of this move, it does leave us to wonder, how can I continue to practice my faith when I can’t go to Mass?
Fortunately for us, many parishes around the world are offering online streams of daily or weekly Mass, so really we are spoiled for choice in how to continue to participate in the Mass. At Manning we are lucky enough to have our priest choosing to stream his Mass, but you can also watch the Archbishop’s Mass at the Cathedral, or even the Pope’s Mass from the Vatican.
How to Engage in Online Mass
Having Mass online for us to partake in from the comfort of our own home has benefits and challenges. It is easy to fall into the trap of being too casual or disengaged because we are at home and we have other things around us to do, while we do not have these distractions in the parish. But we also can tune in and celebrate the Mass at a time of our choosing instead of the specific times that Mass is offered. However, you do need to ensure that you are watching the Mass for that day as the readings and context change every day.
Getting Set Up for Online Mass:
To help you engage properly in Mass, make sure you are properly prepared.
- Create a mini altar around your screen:
Clear any clutter on this surface and consider placing religious objects such as a crucifix or lighted candle there.
- Make sure the room is tidy and free of distractions:
You don’t want to be in a room that has things that detract from your experience of the Mass, or is messy or otherwise distracting. You are there to spend time with God during this time.
- Prepare yourself:
Consider dressing as if you’re going to Mass out of respect for the fact you are still participating in the Mass, and to help get you in the right mindset. Similarly attend to any bodily needs first like making sure you have eaten before starting (not during!) and try to settle yourself into a state of prayerfulness and reverence.
- Schedule a time:
Just like when you are physically at Mass, try to set a time to participate. Don’t leave it until you have time do so as this may result in you filling your day with other things and forgetting. It is also a matter of reverence too: God is calling you to spend just one hour with Him every week, so consciously make time for it out of love and respect for Him. How can we claim to want to spend eternity in Heaven with Him if we do not want to make time for Him in life?
During Online Mass:
Ensure that we are still reverent during the Mass, even though we are at home and not in the Parish.
- Participate fully:
Continue to sit, kneel, stand, and recite communal prayers just like when you’re there at Mass. These gestures and postures have meaning, and help us to engage fully and show reverence.
- Avoid distraction:
This time is God’s time, and you should give Him your full attention because He is your God, and so should be the centre around which your life is ordered. This means you should resist the urge to multitask during the Mass – ignore your messages, don’t do housework, and don’t check the scores on your sports for example.
- Make a Spiritual Communion:
When it is time to receive the Eucharist, remind yourself of your faith that this is the true Body and Blood of Christ, and make the prayer of Spiritual Communion. Make sure to reflect on the meaning behind the words of this prayer.
At the end of the Mass, consider taking time in prayerful reflection to talk to God and offer Him your struggles and concerns, and to be present with Him even in silence.
Outside of Mass
Being a Catholic is more than just participating in Mass once a week. We are called to be a witness to Christ’s love for the whole world, and to do what we can to care for those around us. Since we cannot be physically present in the Mass each week to remind us to keep re-engaging in our faith, we must be even more conscious of deliberately maintaining and practicing our faith in our everyday lives.
Consider this time where we are unable to attend the Mass physically as an opportunity to grow in your faith life, and as a reminder that we are not just Catholic when we are at Church, but at all times in our lives, and in all that we do. Pray regularly and especially when you find yourself struggling, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in your journey.
One of the losses that is less talked about with the closures of the public Mass, and the government’s social distancing policies is that we are less able to engage in our faith community. Where possible, it is a good idea to find ways to stay connected to your faith community to help you keep going. We are not called to journey alone, but in relationship with Christ and our peers. Consider messaging and calling friends and church workers, such as the parish priest and your youth leaders.
Here at Manning Parish, we have both a Facebook group and a Discord server for our Young Adults, and a WhatsApp group for the teens (just ask us to add you). And for everyone, we have our youth website, Facebook page, and Instagram.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.Deuteronomy 31:6
Peace and God Bless!
The Quest Youth Leadership Team