Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Tonight is the vigil of the most holy week in the church year and no one could have imagined that we would not be in church gathered together to celebrate this most Holy Week. There is sadness and grief at our sense of loss but Scripture reminds us that we do not grieve like the unbeliever, because the same God who called Jesus to new life calls us to newness of life.
This newness of life takes effect now in how we gather in our homes to engage as deeply as we can in the mystery of God’s love for us poured out in the Eucharist. Without a doubt, for the majority of us, it will be a brand-new experience and something that will take some getting used to. But to engage in this Holy Week we have very little choice.
Palm Sunday Mass at St. Andrew will be available on our church website: www.standrew-orlando.org on Sunday, April 5 at 10 a.m.
I encourage you to take advantage of my suggestions on how we might be present during Mass, as we participate in our own homes. It might help to put on your Sunday clothing. Although I am not sure many of you will do that. LOL! See the list of suggestions on how to prepare to participate in any online version of Mass below.
I pray for you. Please keep me in your prayers. Although my options are limited because of social distancing, if I can be of help to you in any way during this time do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Together. we will get through this!
Always, may God’s peace, a peace the world cannot give, be yours.
Guidelines for Preparing for Mass from Home
First, prepare yourself for the Mass by being purposeful and being aware of your mass intention. Remember you have the keychain and the Gospel Reflection book. Use them.
Second, do not just turn technology on and begin to watch Mass as you might a sporting event or the news. As much as possible, you do not want to be a spectator. Be mindful about the sacred mystery you are about to enter into.
Third, if you can, and if it is safe to do so, light a candle and place it in your sight as a reminder of the presence of Christ. Make sure it is safe so you don’t have to think about it while it is burning.
Fourth, if the technology you are using to view the Mass can be in your sacred space, that might help you. I mentioned in one of my previous emails about making sacred space, a prayer corner in your home. If you have not created sacred space, this is the time to do so.
Fifth, picture yourself at church, in the pew where you normally sit. The people who normally sit behind you are behind you. The people who normally sit in front of you are in front of you. The people who normally sit next to you are next to you. See yourself in church as you normally are with the regular folks sitting near you. Now to keep yourself in church it might be helpful to close your eyes. I know that sounds very odd to close your eyes as you sit in front of a screen, but these are odd times. It might be helpful…maybe you want to alternate between having your eyes open or closed. Whatever is going to work for you will be fine. You know the responses to the Mass, so respond audibly. You also know the appropriate times to sit, stand and kneel.
Sixth, during the offertory, offer yourself to God. All of you, God receives in love. In the same way that bread and wine will never be grapes and wheat again, may we too be transformed by this Eucharist.
Seventh, during communion, since circumstances prevent you from receiving Holy Communion in your hand, make an act of Spiritual Communion by praying the prayer below. Spiritual Communion is uniting yourself in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice and worshiping Him in His Body and Blood. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid sin.
Act of Spiritual Communion
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 in my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come into my heart.
I embrace you because you are already there and I unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.