Although participation in the liturgy has been suspended indefinitely there is a lot that we can do personally. As well as practical help to fellow parishioners, friends, relatives and neighbours who are self-isolationg or housebound, there is much that we can do to satisfy our spiritual needs, especially if you have access to a mobile phone , tablet or PC.
The Tablet has compiled a list of online resources for Catholics during the Covid-19 pandemic
The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have put together guidelines for parishes and other organisations.
The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have recorded a talk with Professor Jim McManus, director of public health for Hertfordshire and a key contributor to the Bishops’ Conference Healthcare Reference Group for the Catholic Church. He worked on the bishops’ guidelines for Catholics. In this recording, he talks about how we can all do our bit to combat the spread and keep ourselves safe – especially the most vulnerable members of our society. There is also guidance from the Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols on how to respond to the crisis.
"The key guidance right now is to remain balanced and ensure you are well prepared." The UK Consortium of LGBT+ Voluntary and Community Organisations, of which LGBT Catholics is a member, is offering advice in the crisis.
The former Rector of St Mary’s College, Oscott, Canon David Oakley, is to be ordained as the new Bishop of Northampton this evening, Thursday 19, without a congregation. His episcopal ordination at Northampton Cathedral will be livestreamed.
Pope Francis and the Vatican have cancelled all public masses. However the Pope’s daily Masses at Casa Santa Marta and the Sunday Angelus are being streamed live on the Vatican’s YouTube channel. No need to watch live, tune in at any time.
"Might I make a few suggestions in regard to our retreat? Get out your Bible and read one of the Gospels in its entirety—perhaps the Gospel of Matthew, which we are using for Sunday Mass this liturgical year. Read it slowly, prayerfully; use a good commentary if that helps." Bishop Robert Barron has written a helpful article for this time, and his website Word on Fire has many useful online resources.
Universalis. "The Lord has commanded us to pray without ceasing, and this is what the Hours help us do." Online Liturgy of the Hours, recommended by Bishop of Portsmouth Philip Egan, in his pastoral letter and decree.
Ireland’s Knock Shrine broadcasts daily Masses online and will send out Mass cards. In addition, a National Novena to Our Lady of Knock began St Patrick’s Day, 17 March, and continues to the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25 2020. The shrine states: "We invite everyone to join with us for the Novena in which we pray for a swift end to the corona virus, Covid-19, the protection of all people against it, all who are ill at this time and all medical and civil authorities dealing with the virus." Archbishop Eamon Martin is inviting priests and bishops to join with him, after the Angelus on the Feast of Annunciation, 25 March, in consecrating Ireland and her people to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for protection from the coronavirus. The shrine is inviting Catholics to join online from Knock Shrine for two sessions daily: 12 noon, for the Angelus Mass and Novena prayers; 7.00pm for Rosary, Mass and Novena prayers followed by Eucharistic blessing. You can also join in the Novena by writing an online petition and lighting a candle which will then be lit at the Shrine for you.
Rathfarnham Parish, Dublin has its own livestream and also has a page featuring live and upcoming video streams of Masses, ceremonies, Vatican events and monastic offices from Ireland and around the world which is updated by the hour. The parish also has a regular video re-enactment of the day’s Gospel.
The National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham is live-streaming all Masses.
CatholicArena on Twitter has created a thread with a list of churches streaming online Masses, mainly but not exclusively in Ireland.
Catholic Masses live online. With a calendar to see available Masses live online, you can find services all over the world, including specifically in English and even add the stream to Google calendar. The website was created for the sick, home bound and all who cannot go to Mass or live in an area with no services avaiable. The site also has an Android app.
Church Services TV streams Masses, weddings, funerals, music and all other kinds of events from churches, halls and other venues. The website states: "By making services available on PC’s, laptops, mobile devices and TV sets anywhere in the world, CSTV helps those confined to home or care facilities, and those living away from home, keep in touch with their parish and continue to be part of the local community."
The Taize community is broadcasting evening prayer live from the community in France every day at 8.30pm Central European Time (7.30pm UK)
In Scotland, churches streaming live Masses include St Andrews Cathedral, Glasgow, St John the Baptist, Uddingston,St Francis Xavier’s, Falkirk, St Theresa’s, Dumfries, St Margaret’s Cathedral, Ayr, and St Augustine’s, Coatbridge.
Bayard have provided the text of Sunday Liturgies, including those for children, free online, as well as other online resources.
St Mary’s Press has online readings, reflections and questions, suitable for young people and children, updated daily.
The Jesuit Post’s Curriculum Guide has articles and videos from the past eight years organised in nearly twenty different themes.
Heaven’s Road Catholic Online Radio broadcasts 24/7 prayers, reflections, features and music, plus live Masses from more than 15 churches in England and Ireland. If you missed anything, you can listen again to more than 200 programmes.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is to lead a national broadcast as the Church of England responds to the challenge of becoming a “different sort of church” in the face of the coronavirus crisis. The service including prayers, hymns and a short sermon will be broadcast online by the Church of England and broadcast across 39 local BBC radio stations this Sunday in response to the crisis.
In the US, Magnificat is offering free access to streaming and other resources online to help Catholics to pray at home.
Organisers of the Rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary are urging Catholics to make a personal act of rededication on 29 March if events they were due to attend in cathedrals and parishes are cancelled because of the coronavirus.
‘Many things, good or bad, nourishing or destructive, true or false can bring us closer together. The global health emergency is doing it by reminding us, as the environmental emergency should, of the reality that we are a single family; we share a beautiful home; our differences are really interesting not threatening; and we need to learn how to share better and to live in a more joyful way. This crisis can bring us together for the sake of goodness, for new depth of wisdom and kindness. It is not all about fear.’ The World Community for Christian Meditation is offering a contemplative path through the crisis.
Churches Together in England are asking Christians at 7pm this Sunday, 22 March to light a candle in the windows of their homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, source and hope in prayer.
Jesuits online Lent retreat. This year’s retreat run by Jesuits in Britain, titled, Journey Into Freedom, is based on the spiritual exercises of the order’s founder, St Ignatius of Loyola. This Lent it is a daily journey through the life of Jesus, praying with scripture. The resources include a booklet that can be downloaded for use at home, a guide on how to pray with Lectio Divina and an introduction. Every day a new exercise is posted, with a "stilling" or preparation exercise, guidance, thought for the day, suggested "conversations" with Jesus, the Father or Mary, Bible readings and prayer.
Some members of the Spirituality Committee at the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales have set up a supportive Facebook Group for this time, called CCC – Christ, Covid, Community. It is a public group open to all who want to reach out to, and be reached by, those affected by Covid-19. It is the space to open doors in spite of, possible) isolation, allow hearts speak to hearts, and share journeys through this wilderness, remembering you are not alone. It promotes the Christ-centred solidarity that is stronger than any illness. It is a space to share thoughts, struggles, hopes, dreams, tips and prayers. Since its establishment on 12 March, this group as at 18 March has 165 members and reaches Christians across many countries.
The Corrymeela Community has produced "Prayers for Community in a Time of Pandemic".
Marriage Care has moved all its face-to-face services to online alternatives using secure webcam and video conferencing technology – just like having face-to-face support, except you talk to a trained counsellor or marriage preparation facilitator online using a secure video link, similar to Skype or FaceTime.
The Jesuits in Britain have made scripture prayer sheets, known as "prego", available online.
The Irish Catholic Bishops have published a varied selection of prayers for use during the coronavirus pandemic, including Pope Francis’ prayer to Mary, an extract from St Patrick’s Breastplate, Novena prayers in preparation for the Feast of the Annunciation and a special guide, Praying at Home with St Patrick. A wide variety of broadcast, online and radio parish Masses has also been gathered into one place by the Irish Catholic Bishops.
One priest, Fr Cassidy Stinson, has created a Google spreadsheet inviting followers on Twitter to submit Catholic prayer requests.
Reading, Watching, Listening
Francis Stewart of Cafod’s theology team reflects on what he is learning during Lent from the coronavirus pandemic.
With cinemas shutting down across the country to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, people are turning to streaming platforms to occupy their time during social distancing. Aleteia lists 12 good Catholic movies to watch, starting with A Man for All Seasons, about St Thomas More.
‘Uncertain as this time is, it seems to me that the pandemic is providing an opportunity for us to collectively examine our lives and to perhaps look anew at the unseen and ordinary.’ Ryan Birjoo SJ on ‘Contemplation in Quarantine’.
‘This morning I spoke on the phone with a Catholic friend who was born in the small village of Zhang Jia Tai. The name of the village indicates that it is the ancestral home of the Zhang family, a common way in which Chinese villages were named. Although the village is in the heart of Hubei province it has completely escaped the ravages of the coronavirus outbreak. Its clean bill of health is due to the fact that it was sealed off from surrounding areas in the early days of the current epidemic.’ A series of letters from a Catholic who lives in Wuhan and prefers to remain anonymous, giving a first-hand account of the situation in the city at the centre of the Coronovirus infection, published by ICN.
"They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise, you can hear the birds again." Columbans UK have posted a thoughtful reflection by Fr Richard Hendrick, OFM.
Tina Beattie recommends: "If you’re a church goer feeling deprived of worship I recommend Nick Mayhew-Smith’s book, ‘The Naked Hermit‘, about the earliest Christians in Britain and how their church was the whole natural world. You too could wade bare-bottomed into the North Sea and sing psalms!"
A Dominican nun in Summit, New Jersey has offered some tips on self-isolation drawing on her experience of 30 years of "self-isolation".
Fr Thomas Reese has offered his thoughts on spirituality during the outbreak in the National Catholic Reporter.
Also in the NCR, Heidi Schlumpf points out the responsibility of parents for the religious education of their children is even more salient in a time when children cannot attend school or Church.
Wondering which saint to pray to for intercession? The blogger SensusFidelium has posted a list of the patron saints of plagues.
Alexander Seale wonders, in the Independent, how the pandemic will change the way the Church operates.
What can we learn from this cloistered nun, who limits contact with the world as a part of the religious life she observes?
VidAngel, a family-friendly streaming app and original content studio, has made all content free for the next two weeks. This includes VidAngel’s popular original series The Chosen about the life of Jesus and his disciples, and Dry Bar Comedy, the standup comedy series featuring the world’s largest collection of clean standup comedy.