Sunday Mass cancellations and dispensations are now ubiquitous throughout the Catholic Church in the United States. During the weekend of March 14-15, over 20 archdioceses and dioceses experienced Sunday Mass cancellations, including in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, New York, San Diego, Boston, Newark, San Antonio, and Detroit. Many other cardinals, archbishops, and bishops have granted a variety of dispensations from Mass attendance for the Catholic faithful within their ecclesiastical jurisdictions.
In Italy, the Diocese of Rome and the Italian Episcopal Conference have suspended all Masses throughout the country until April 3. Masses had already been canceled in Northern Italy due to its coronavirus epicenter status. Mass cancellations are now taking place in varied places worldwide, including Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, and other parts of Europe.
In speaking with a European bishop whose country just suspended Masses for the near future, he reported that after weeks of isolated cases, the exponential spiking of Coronavirus that was seen first in China, and then Italy, is now happening within his own western European nation, which led to the nationwide suspension of Masses. Numerous international medical experts estimate that the United States is only a few weeks away from a similar bell curve spiking in CV.
For many Catholics in the U.S., it’s time to spiritually and pastorally prepare for Mass-less Sundays in the immediate future.
Here are four concrete ways that the Catholic faithful in the U.S. can spiritually prepare and “pray through” this purging period of Mass-less Sundays:
- Watch Sunday Mass on television.
Through television and internet, most of us have access to the celebration of Holy Mass, either nationally or locally. While watching the Eucharistic Liturgy on a screen obviously doesn’t provide the same existential blessing of being physically present, it nonetheless conveys significant secondary spiritual blessings through a virtual participation of the Eucharistic Liturgy.
When possible, obtain the scripture readings from the Mass. If you don’t have access to the liturgy via technology, prayerfully read and meditate upon the scripture readings from Sunday Mass. Offer your newly experienced sufferings in union with the sufferings of Jesus and Mary at Calvary, which is mystically though truly present and continued at every Mass.
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