Questions Catholics Ask

| ➕ | ➕

More questions...and responses

RSS feed button

March 2020 Posts

Ask a question now!

What should we do if we can't go to Mass?

Posted by: Alice L. Camille   🕔 Saturday 21, March 2020 Categories: Prayer and Spirituality,Doctrines & Beliefs,Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints
Consider it an invitation to choose a devotion and Act of Spiritual Communion that enables you to stay connected  to the universal Body of Christ.

If Mass is suspended in your diocese due to COVID-19 or for other public safety concerns, there are other ways to observe the Fourth Commandment: Keep holy the Lord’s Day. Consider it an invitation to choose a devotion and Act of Spiritual Communion that enables you to stay connected to the universal Body of Christ. You might:

“Virtually” attend Sunday Mass on TV or online. Most dioceses have a Mass for shut-ins, a term that now applies to many of us under "stay at home” orders. The Paulist Fathers in Rome also have a user-friendly sing-along Mass in English uploaded weekly at YouTube. See for the current offerings on their home page.

Read and reflect on the Scriptures for Sunday available from the U.S. Bishops’ site:

Make use of the church’s traditional Liturgy of the Hours by downloading the popular breviary app at

During this season of Lent, meditate on the Stations of the Cross or other spiritual practices.

Or, pray five decades of the rosary, or make this the year you finally read your Bible—neither of which requires any technology.

Below are recommended prayers for an Act of Spiritual Communion when unable to participate in the Mass. Feel free to adapt them for personal or family needs!


My Jesus, 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.



Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, embolden me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within thy wounds hide me.
Never permit me to be parted from you.
From the evil Enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come to thee,
that with your saints I may praise thee
for age upon age.



O Mary, you always shine on our path as a sign of salvation and of hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.

You, Salvation of Your People, know what we need, and we are sure you will provide so that, as in Cana of Galilee, we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who has taken upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows to lead us, through the cross, to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.

Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

Shouldn’t churches stay open in times of crisis?

Posted by: Alice L. Camille   🕔 Saturday 21, March 2020 Categories: Church History
Church door
The church building as place of refuge and safety is contradicted in times of contagious disease.

In periods of social upheaval, the church has always been there for those who seek her. The idea of sanctuary is rooted in the idea that sacred spaces are universal safe houses for those in trouble. They’re also havens for sinners, the poor, and seekers of divine Presence. For these reasons, a Catholic church is consecrated territory, generally open to all comers and a welcome refuge in difficult times especially.

The church building as place of refuge and safety is contradicted in times of contagious disease, however. Where contagion is present, gathering is a dangerous thing to do. Not just for the individual, but for society altogether. This wasn’t understood in the Middle Ages during the era of plague, nor even in more recent centuries when waves of yellow fever or leprosy spread through port cities. While germ theory was proposed as early as the 11th century, and reintroduced periodically, it was largely dismissed until 1850 when Louis Pasteur did his research. Viruses were discovered in the 1890s. This better understanding of how disease spreads gives us many new tools with which to contain and defeat it.

The church isn’t exempt from the science of a pandemic. We exercise charity in acknowledging that, while Catholics are spiritually hardwired to seek the sacraments, especially in anxious times, what serves the common good is to consider the welfare of the whole community. Yes, I want access to sacraments; and I want the support of the community in faith. But there are other ways to do this besides gathering in a church building in these weeks when special caution benefits the world that God so loves.

Charity recommends we do what the saints did: enjoy “spiritual communion” until we have the privilege of the real thing. Mother Francis Cabrini took 37 sea voyages back and forth across the Atlantic during her missionary years. During those voyages, she and her sisters were without Mass or the sacraments for weeks or even months. She wrote often about this deprivation: “We believed we would arrive in time to celebrate the Feast of the Patronage of Saint Joseph; instead we have to spend it at sea, without Mass, without Communion…. Meanwhile, the view continually before our eyes, the work of the One whom we so much desire to receive into the small sanctuary of our souls, serves as preparation for a worthy Communion.”

Perhaps this time of austere fasting from even the consolation of the sacraments will prepare us for a more worthy communion soon.

Scripture: Matthew 10:27-32; 12:1-8; John 14:1-6; 15:1-5; 17:1-19

Books: To the Ends of the Earth: The Missionary Travels, by Francis X. Cabrini (Center for Migration Studies, 2001)

The Eucharist and the Hunger of the World, by Monika Hellwig (Sheed & Ward, 1992)



Follow Us


Click on a date below to see the vocation events happening that day!