Showing posts with label COVID 19 Crisis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label COVID 19 Crisis. Show all posts
Friday, May 15, 2020
COVID19's Positive Impact for Catholic Tradition

Beyond live streaming the typical Sunday Mass that most Catholics would be accustomed to attending (the Novus Ordo Mass), live streaming during COVID19 specifically allowed lesser-known Catholic traditions to have a significantly larger audience.

For instance, most Catholic parishes that celebrate the Traditional (Tridentine) Latin Mass have live-streamed all of their Masses, including daily masses. The Tridentine Mass is the manner that all Masses were said before the changes in the late 1960s. This changed in 1969. While Mass is still sometimes said in Latin, it is much more uncommon. And in addition to the language changing, the very format of the Mass — its prayers, rituals, gestures, and practices — was arguably altered in the most significant way in history. Most of these priests, aside from a few specific cases, did not live stream or record their Masses beforehand.

A subset of these priests during Holy Week celebrated the Mass using the rubrics that existed before the changes to the Church’s Liturgy (i.e., Her public prayers and rituals) by Pope Pius XII in 1955. In 1955, Pope Pius XII significantly changed the prayers, readings, and rituals for Holy Week. Those changes were embodied in the 1962 Catholic Missal, which most Tridentine Masses follow. In the past few decades, there has been a call for a return to the pre-1955 Holy Week ceremonies.

In response to these calls, the Vatican permitted the pre-1955 ceremonies on a three-year trial period starting in 2018. In 2018 and 2019, they were attended by self-proclaimed liturgy nerds and some of the most traditional Catholics. The number of Catholics who witnessed these pre-1955 liturgies in either 2018 or 2019 numbered likely 5,000 or less.

By contrast, the YouTube channel Sensus Fidelium, which as of May 13, 2020, has 144,000 subscribers, live-streamed these older pre-1955 liturgies from just three different chapels in the United States. Across those three locations only, the channel’s organizer, Steve Cunningham, said that these older liturgies generated over 100,000 page views: “Many non-Catholics saw it and love it.” Over a dozen other pre-1955 Masses were live-streamedfrom chapels that had beforehand not live streamed their services. It is realistic that live streaming has at least quadrupled the number of Catholics who saw the pre-1955 Liturgy this year. Steve added in referring to Tridentine Masses offered on other Sundays outside of Holy Week, “Many [average Catholics] saw a [Tridentine Latin] High Mass for the first time.”

Continue Reading on
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Votive Mass in Times of Pestilence Mass Propers

Last weekend the Dominican Rite was celebrated in Berkeley, California. The Mass was the Votive Mass in Times of Pestilence (Recordare, Domine). This Votive Mass is the same in both the Traditional Roman Rite as in the Dominican Rite, among others.

This votive Mass has increased in popularity as of late due to the COVID-19 crisis and the spread of disease throughout much of the world, which has led to the widespread suspension of public Masses and the Sacraments. As I mentioned previously in my article "An Authentic Catholic Response to A Public Health Crisis" the offering of the Votive Mass in Times of Pestilence is one of the ways our priests can implore the help of God during the crisis.

As Father Augustine noted in his sermon, the Votive Mass in times of Pestilence came about in 1348 at the time of the Black Death when Pope Clement V reigned. The text of that Mass is given below. What is truly interesting though, as Father noted, is that the Mass text, while mentioning the disease, implores most of all help in the spiritual domain from our Lord. We do not ask God to remove the scourge outright. We implore that He be merciful to His people and keep us in grace. Written at a time when the Black Death killed 30% to 60% of Europe's population, the Church implored for spiritual help the most.

The Collect from the Mass reads: “O God, Who willest not the death of the sinner but that he should repent: welcome with pardon Thy people’s return to Thee: and so long as they are faithful in Thy service, do Thou in Thy clemency withdraw the scourge of Thy wrath.”

Are there things we need to be purged of and forgiven? And secondly, what more can I do to be of service to those in sickness or those in need during this economic time? These are key questions that come from this Mass. We do not ask God to remove the plague from us so that the world can return to its former evils. Our goal is to perform penance as the Ninevites of old under Jonah so that the scourge may be removed and we are interiorly more pleasing to the Lord.

Click here to download these prayers in PDF.

Introit (2 Kings 24:16)

Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy covenant and say to the destroying Angel: Now hold thy hand, and let not the land be made desolate, and destroy not every living soul. (P.T. Alleluia, alleluia.) Psalm. Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep. ℣. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. — Be mindful, O Lord …


O God, who willest not the death of the sinner but that he should repent: welcome with pardon Thy people’s return to Thee: and so long as they are faithful in Thy service, do Thou in Thy clemency withdraw the scourge of Thy wrath. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son…

Lesson (2 Kings 24:15 – 19; 25)

In those days: The Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel, from the morning unto the time appointed, and there died of the people from Dan to Bersabee seventy thousand men. And when the Angel of the Lord had stretched out his hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord had pity on the affliction, and said to the Angel that slew the people: It is enough: now hold thy hand. And the Angel of the Lord was by the thrashing-floor of Areuna the Jebusite. And David said to the Lord, when he saw the Angel striking the people: It is I, I am he that have sinned, I have done wickedly: these that are the sheep, what have they done? Let Thy hand, I beseech Thee, be turned against me, and against my father’s house. And the Prophet Gad came to David that day, and said: Go up, and build an altar to the Lord in the thrashing-floor of Areuna the Jebusite. And David went up according to the word of Gad which the Lord had commanded him: and he built there an altar to the Lord, and offered holocausts and peace-offerings: and the Lord became merciful to the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.

Gradual (Psalm 106:20 – 21) 

The Lord sent his word, and healed them: and delivered them from their death. Let the mercies of the Lord give glory to Him: and His wonderful works to the children of men.

Tract (Psalm 102:10) [Prayed between Septuagesima Sunday and the end of Lent]

O Lord, repay us not according to the sins we have committed, nor according to our iniquities. (Ps. 78:8-9.) O Lord, remember not our former iniquities, let Thy mercies speedily prevent us: for we are become exceeding poor. Help us, O God, our Savior: and for the glory of Thy Name, O Lord, deliver us: and forgive us our sins for Thy Name’s sake

Alleluia (Psalm 68:2) [Prayed during Pascaltide in place of Gradual and Tract]

Alleluia, alleluia. Save me, O God, for the waters are come in even unto my soul. Alleluia. (Zach. 8:7-8.) I will save my people Israel in the evil day: and I will be their God in truth and in justice. Alleluia.

Gospel (Luke 4:38 – 44)

At that time Jesus rising up out of the synagogue, went into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought Him for her. And standing over her, He commanded the fever: and it left her. And immediately rising, she ministered to them. And when the sun was down, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them to Him. But He, laying His hands on every one of them, healed them. And devils went out from many, crying out and saying: Thou art the Son of God; and rebuking them, He suffered them not to speak, for they knew that He was Christ. And when it was day, going out He went into a desert place: and the multitudes sought Him, and came unto Him: and they stayed Him that He should not depart from them. To whom He said: To other cities also I must preach the Kingdom of God: for therefore am I sent. And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.

Offertory (Num. 16:48)

The high priest stood between the dead and the living, having a golden censer in his hand: and offering the sacrifice of incense, he appeased the wrath of God, and the affliction from the Lord ceased.


Let the sacrifice which we now offer succour us, O Lord; may it wholly release us from sin and deliver us from all ruin and destruction. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee …


Preface of Lent or Eastertide or Common Preface, as determined by the season

Communion (Luke 6:17, 18, 19)

A multitude of sick and they that were troubled with unclean spirits, came to Him: for virtue went out from Him, and healed all. (P.T. Alleluia.)

Post Communion

Graciously hear us, O God our Savior: deliver Thy people from the terrors of Thy wrath, and assure them of that safety which is the gift of Thy mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son: Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Traditional Catholic Prayer for Epidemics

℣. Dómine, non secúdum peccáta nostre facias nobis.

℣. Deal not with us, Lord, according to our sins.

℟. Neque secúndum iniquittátes nostras retribuas nobis.

℟. And take not vengeance on us because of our misdeeds.

℣. Adjuva nos, Deus, salutáris noster.

℣. Help us, O God, our Deliverer.

℟. Et propter glóriam nóminis tui, Dómine, libera nos.

℟. And for Thy name’s sake, O Lord, free us.

℣. Dómine, ne memineris iniquitatum nostrarum antiquárum.

℣. Remember not, O Lord, our sins of old.

℟. Cito anticipent nos misericórdiæ tuæ, quia páuperes facti sumus nimis.

℟. Hasten to us with Thy compassion, for we are become exceeding poor.

℣. Ora pro nobis, sancte Sebastiáne.

℣ St. Sebastian, pray for us.

℟. Ut digni efficiátmur promissiónibus Christi.

℟. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

℣. Dómine, exaudi oratiónem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te véniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.

℣. The Lord be with you.

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℟. And with Thy spirit.


Exáudi nos, Deus salutáris noster: et intercedénte beáta et gloriósa Dei genitrice Maria semper vergine, et beáto Sebastiáno mártyre tuo, et omnibus Sanctis, pópulum tuum ab iracundiæ tuæ terróribus libera, et misericórdiæ tuæ fac largitáte securum.

Let us pray

Vouchsafe to hear us, O God, our only salvation! And through the intercession of the glorious and blessed Mary, Mother of God and ever Virgin, of Thy blessed martyr, Sebastian and of all the saints, deliver Thy people from the terrors of Thy wrath, and restore their confidence by the outpouring of Thy compassion.

Propitiáre, Dónine, supplicatiónibus nostris: et animárum et córporum medére languóribus: ut remissióne percépta, in tua semper benedictióne lætémur.

Be moved to pity, O Lord, at our earnest entreaties, and heal the illnesses of body and soul; so that experiencing Thy forgiveness we may ever rejoice in Thy blessing.

Da nobis, quæsumus, Dómine, piæ petitiónis efféctum: et pestiléntiam mortalitatérmque propitiátus avérte; ut mortálium corda cognóscant, et te indignánte tália flagélla prodire, et te miserante cessáre. Per Dóminum.

We beseech thee, O Lord, grant us a hearing as we devoutly raise our petitions to Thee, and graciously turn away the epidemic of plague which afflicts us; so that mortal hearts may recognize that these scourges proceed from Thine indignation and cease only when Thou art moved to mercy. Through Our Lord.

℟. Amen

Ultimo benedicit cum Refiquia S. Crucis, dicens:

The priest then blesses people with a relic of the True Cross, saying:

Benedictio Dei omnipoténtis, Patris, et Filii, ✠ et Spiritus Sancti, descéndat super vos, máneat semper.

And may the blessing of Almighty God, Father, ✠ Son and Holy Ghost descend upon you and remain forever.

℟. Amen

Rituale Romanum l, Titulus IX, Cap. X
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Rare Urbi et Orbi Blessing In Response to COVID-19

Update: The full video may be watched here:

The Vatican News website reports:
On Friday, 27 March, [Pope Francis] will preside over a moment of prayer on the sagrato of St Peter’s Basilica, the platform at the top of the steps immediately in front of the façade of the Church. “I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication," he said.  
The ceremony will consist in readings from the Scriptures, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; and will conclude with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et orbi Blessing, with the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who listen to it live through the various forms of communication. The blessing “to the City [of Rome] and to the World” is normally only given on Christmas and Easter.
It is an extraordinarily rare event for an Urbi et orbi to take place any time other than Christmas or Easter. This follows the release of a special indulgences issued in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Special Indulgences Available Due to COVID-19

The Procession of St. Gregory by Jacopo Zucchi

The following is taken from the Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic issued on March 20, 2020:

The gift of special Indulgences is granted to the faithful suffering from COVID-19 disease, commonly known as Coronavirus, as well as to health care workers, family members and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom 12: 12). The words written by Saint Paul to the Church of Rome resonate throughout the entire history of the Church and guide the judgment of the faithful in the face of all suffering, sickness and calamity.

The present moment in which the whole of humanity, threatened by an invisible and insidious disease, which for some time now has become part of all our lives, is marked day after day by anguished fears, new uncertainties and above all widespread physical and moral suffering.

The Church, following the example of her Divine Master, has always had the care of the sick at heart. As Saint John Paul II points out, the value of human suffering is twofold: “It is supernatural because it is rooted in the divine mystery of the Redemption of the world, and it is likewise deeply human, because in it the person discovers himself, his own humanity, his own dignity, his own mission” (Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, 31).

Pope Francis, too, in these recent days, has shown his paternal closeness and renewed his invitation to pray incessantly for those who are sick with the Coronavirus.

So that all those who suffer because of COVID-19, precisely in the mystery of this suffering, may rediscover “the same redemptive suffering of Christ” (ibid., 30), this Apostolic Penitentiary, ex auctoritate Summi Pontificis, trusting in the word of Christ the Lord and considering with a spirit of faith the epidemic currently underway, to be lived in a spirit of personal conversion, grants the gift of Indulgences in accordance with the following disposition.

The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father's intentions), as soon as possible.

Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.

This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.

The Church prays for those who find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, no.12).

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, Health of the Sick and Help of Christians, our Advocate, help suffering humanity, saving us from the evil of this pandemic and obtaining for us every good necessary for our salvation and sanctification.

The present Decree is valid notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.

Given in Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 19 March 2020.

Mauro Cardinal Piacenza

Major Penitentiary
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Must the First Fridays and First Saturdays be Consecutive?

From time to time the question arises on whether or not the 9 First Fridays must be consecutive. One of the reasons for this is that traditionally the faithful may never receive Holy Communion, except in the case of the dying, on Good Friday. And some years Good Friday will fall on the First Friday of the month.

Likewise, during the crisis due to the coronavirus, many parishes - even traditional ones - are forced to cease public Masses due to the various shelter in place orders or government decrees to limit attendance at any gathering to a certain amount.

If this crisis continues into April, will the First Friday devotion need to be restarted again? Likewise, if through no fault of our own, will the Five First Saturdays devotion need to be restarted if we are unable to receive Holy Communion on the First Saturday of April? The answer is yes.

The following is taken from the American Ecclesiastical Review in regards to the question of Good Friday falling on the First Friday of the month. While the author notes this is not a universal opinion, he nevertheless does state that only Our Lord [or Our Lady in the case of the First Saturdays] could render a definitive decision on this matter. As none has been received from Heaven in a subsequent vision, we must conclude that the souls who are unable to receive Holy Communion, even through no fault of their own, must restart the devotion.

Let us pray for a quick end to the coronavirus crisis and the reopening of our churches and the offering of the Mass again to the public!

Does Good Friday Break the First Friday Devotion?

Monday, March 16, 2020
Comprehensive List of Live Streaming Traditional Latin Masses

Updated 11/23/2020

With the current crisis in regards to the coronavirus, many Dioceses or governments have suspended all Masses and gatherings. This is unprecedented in the Church. As a result, in most places, the faithful have been dispensed from Sunday Mass. Yet, while it is possible to be dispensed from the precept of assisting at Mass, the divine law requires that Sundays are nevertheless honored. We must refrain from servile works on Sundays, pray, worship God as we can, and perform works of mercy, in addition to using the time for rest and leisure with family or friends. See: Top 5 Ways to Sanctify Sunday When Mass is Suspended

In order for the faithful to help sanctify Sunday, many parishes are now live streaming their Masses. In fact, many of the links here offer daily streaming - even the weekday Masses and the devotions.

During this Lent, we especially bear these crosses which the Lord has given us. When Lent started, we never planned to receive this Cross, but like our Lord, we must bear it with patience and resignation.

Some of these live streams are only during this period of crisis. Others are available all year round. If you know of any more, please list them in the comment section below. Some of these and more are listed on as well.

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
Society of St. Pius V
Society of St. Pius X
Institute of Christ the King
Diocesan / Independent / Others in the USA
Churches in England & Wales
Eastern Catholic Rites
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Top 5 Ways to Sanctify Sunday When Mass is Suspended

As a precursor, please read: Is Mass Attendance Required During Epidemics?

Sunday is the ideal day in which to participate in communal Rosary, Vespers, and Benediction services. Sunday is also the day on which the faithful should be most willing to read Catholic newspapers, books, and magazines. While none of these are required, they are some of the ways we can sanctify Sundays. And to those who are home-bound and unable to attend Mass, some of these activities are all the more important.

1. Pray the Divine Office

If you are like most Catholics, you have little time to pray the Divine Office during the work week.  If this is you, make an effort to pray Lauds, Vespers, and Compline each Sunday as a family.  Pray Lauds before going to Mass.  Pray Vespers before Sunday dinner.  And pray Compline after the Family Rosary in the evening before bed. You can easily pray the Divine Office from home at

The Divine Office is the official prayer of the Church.  Unite your family with the Liturgical Year and pray the Divine Office on Sundays (and other holy days of obligation).

2. Family Rosary

Perhaps no Sunday activity is as cherished as the family Rosary.  As the axiom goes, “The Family that prays together stays together.”  Families have a responsibility – as the domestic Church – to foster a sense of holiness and religion amongst their members. The family Rosary should be a time of regular devotion – at least weekly if daily Rosary as a family is not possible.

For those families who have members that have fallen from the Faith, this is a sure means to help them return to the Church.  Beseech our Lady to send them the graces necessary to save their souls. Invite family members to the Rosary. Indeed, the family that prays together does stay together. And pray for all those affected by the health crisis and for all those who do not have access now to the Sacraments.

3. Teach and Learn the Faith

No other day should be as treasured for the passing on or the learning of the Faith than Sunday.  By the virtue of the Fourth Commandment we are forbidden from performing servile work (i.e. the work typical of a servant) on Sundays.  We are also forbidden from commanding those us under our charge to perform such works. Parents may not force their children to mow the lawn (and they should actually forbid such an activity on Sunday!).  Homeowners may not paint their rooms or work on household labors or even command their contractors or hired help to work on Sunday to accomplish a goal.  Rather, we should ask those under our charge to refrain from all such labors on the Holy Day.
What are we to do with our time besides prayer and charity?  We are to study and transit the Faith.  Studying is a discipline of the mind and all forms of intellectual study whether they be studying the catechism, learning Kepler’s laws of the universe, understanding history, practicing Latin, learning a musical instrument, et cetera are permissible on Sunday.  They are even encouraged.

Visit for a list of dozens of great Catholic books that can be read freely online. And visit for classes you can take that are very affordable.

4. Read the Sunday Propers

And even if we cannot attend the actual Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we can read the prayers of the Mass. For instance, learn more about the manner of hearing Mass while at home.  And during this current crisis, Ancilla Press has put together the current propers in a similar method called the Carthusian Office of the Mass. And many churches are now live streaming the private Masses said by the priest so that the faithful can spiritually benefit from watching along.

And lastly, while it may not fulfill our Sunday obligation, there are various Traditional Masses that are live-streamed which we can access during this time. In this way, we can still spiritually unite ourselves with the Sacrifice of the Mass even when dispensed from the Sunday obligation to attend Holy Mass. And as we watch these, we may make an Act of Spiritual Communion.

5. Works of Mercy

Sunday is a day most appropriate for charity.  Our Lord was accosted by the Pharisees for performing miracles (e.g. works of charity) on the Sabbath.  Nowadays, to those who claim that Sunday is not a day most appropriate for charity, we remind them of the Lord’s words: “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?" (Luke 14:5).  Shall we let those who have fallen in sin or despair remain there without aiding them?

While pandemics or epidemics may make it dangerous to feed the hungry or clothe the naked, we can and should still perform the spiritual works of mercy. Visit a cemetery for instance and pray for the dead. Or at least stay at home and say prayers for the souls in Purgatory. Write cards to those who are sick. Be a good example and defend the Catholic Faith publicly on social media. There are many such ways we can share and defend the Faith even when staying at home.
Traditional Prayer in Times of Epidemics

Priests, pray these prayers. Anyone else, share these with your priest. Ask him to say these prayers. Ask him to make a profession of the Blessed Sacrament around the Church, even if it is just him making the profession, to implore the mercy of God. And ask him to offer the Votive Mass in Times of Pestilence. See: An Authentic Catholic Response to a Public Health Crisis.

A separate traditional prayer invoking St. Sebastian, patron against the plague, may be found here.

We need recourse to both natural and divine means during this current pandemic.
Friday, March 13, 2020
Confession by Phone? Internet? Facetime?

I've heard a question asked recently whether or not Confession by telephone or the Internet is permitted. The answer is of course no. As we see in the Gospels, it is about a personal encounter with Jesus Christ that matters. In Confession, we not only confess our sins but we humble ourselves by kneeling down and begging for mercy. The Prodigal Son did not call from across the field: "Forgive me." Rather, the Gospel says, the Son "...rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck, and kissed him" (Luke 15:20).

In Confession, Jesus Christ runs back to us and pours grace into our souls. It is about this personal encounter that matters.

The Catholic Church has also condemned Confession through the Internet. Regardless of the rationale, no Sacraments can be received online.

The Pontifical Council on Social Communications on the Church and the Internet published a document in 2002 that says, “virtual reality cannot substitute for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, nor the sacramental reality of the other sacraments, nor the worship shared in a human community of flesh and bones....Sacraments on the Internet do not exist....Even religious experiences that are possible there through the grace of God are insufficient if they are separated from interaction in the real world with other persons of faith.”
Thursday, March 12, 2020
Is Mass Attendance Required During Epidemics?

The Third Commandment explicitly forbids servile work on Sundays. And the Church further commands that all Sundays — and all other Holy Days of Obligation — are mandatory days of Mass attendance. Missing Mass on one of these days without a grave reason or without dispensation — illness, inability to reasonably obtain transportation, et cetera — is therefore a mortal sin.

However, bishops may dispense people from the obligation of attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for a legitimate reason (e.g. dangerous storms, epidemics of illness, etc). When this occurs, the Church dispenses souls from the precept of assisting at Mass. However, the obligation to sanctify Sundays and render homage to God is a divine precept and that can not be abrogated.

So for instance, if a public health crisis in the form of an epidemic is occurring and a bishop chooses to issue a decree to dispense anyone over the age of 50 from attending Holy Mass over a two week period, those who are dispensed do not sin by failing to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days within the two week period. But if they neglect to pray on Sunday they sin, just like if they perform servile works on Sundays they sin.

Dispensations also only apply to those that they are issued to. For instance, a bishop may dispense people over a certain age from Mass. Only those over that age are dispensed. Those under that age are still obligated to attend Holy Mass.

Sunday is the ideal day in which to participate in communal Rosary, Vespers, and Benediction services. Sunday is also the day on which the faithful should be most willing to read Catholic newspapers, books, and magazines. While none of these are required, like Mass attendance is required, they are some of the ways we can sanctify Sundays. And to those who are home-bound and unable to attend Mass, some of these activities are all the more important.

Keep in mind, that if someone is well and no dispensation has been issued that applies to them, Mass attendance is still required. Yet, even if we are dispensed, epidemics and pandemics are the most important time for us to implore Almighty God for mercy. See: An Authentic Catholic Response to A Public Health Crisis

During the Coronavirus Epidemic of 2020, we are seeing several different forms of dispensations. Here are some examples:

Archdiocese of Portland:

March 12, 2020

The celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. It is in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we encounter the mystery of our redemption, are nourished by God’s Word, and receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

For these reasons, the Church places a grave obligation for the faithful to participate at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. This fulfills the Lord’s command to “keep holy the Sabbath.”

Nevertheless, for a just cause the Church’s pastors may dispense the faithful from this grave obligation. Given the declared pandemic of the COVID-19 virus, Archbishop Alexander K. Sample therefore issues the following directives.  He does so out of an abundance of concern for the health and wellbeing of the people of God entrusted to his pastoral care.

The governor of the state of Oregon, Kate Brown, has canceled all public gatherings of more than 250 people. The fact is that most of the Masses celebrated on the weekends in the Archdiocese of Portland are far below that number. Therefore:
  • Anyone 60 years or older is encouraged to not attend Mass, since they are the most vulnerable to this virus.  They would therefore be dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass.
  • Persons who have underlying medical issues that put them at risk, or persons with compromised immune systems, are asked not to attend Mass. They, likewise, would be dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass.
  • Persons who are not feeling well, no matter how mild the symptoms, are urged not to attend Mass. They also would be dispensed from the obligation.
  • A general dispensation is offered to anyone else in the Archdiocese of Portland who sincerely and seriously think they might be at risk. This dispensation may be used by anyone of any age.
  • The faithful who are in attendance at Mass are reminded to avoid all physical contact with others and should attempt to keep a safe distance from each other.
These directives and dispensations will remain in effect until April 8, 2020, in keeping with Gov. Brown’s directive. The archdiocese will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation, and offer further direction as circumstances change or as further direction is given by public officials.

Diocese of San Jose:

Decree of Special Dispensation – Coronavirus

MARCH 6, 2020

As Bishop of the Diocese of San Jose, I have taken into account the recommendations from the Santa Clara County Health Department regarding people at higher risk of exposure to coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

In light of the delicate situation we are facing at this time, I dispense persons falling into the categories of greater risk from attending Mass.

These categories would include persons over 50 years of age, those with health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or chronic lung diseases like COPD, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems.

May we continue to observe the precautions prescribed by our public health department to protect ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

Let us also continue to pray for the repose of the souls of those who have died from this illness, for the healing of those who are ill, and for the protection of all our health care workers. We hope and pray that our medical professionals will be able to find a cure to this illness.

Most Reverend Oscar Cantú, Bishop of San Jose

The Society of St. Pius X's Canadian District:

People who have been in contact with an infected person or who have been in a risk area (currently China, including Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran, Northern Italy, France and Singapore) within the last 14 days must refrain from participating in Masses and other events, and are therefore exempt from Sunday Mass. 

Preventive measures: 
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap before and after participating in events 
  • Refrain from shaking hands to greet and say goodbye 
  • Cough and sneeze into a handkerchief or into the crook of the elbow.
Out of charity for the common good, let those who feel sick (especially of fever), not be afraid to stay home and consult a doctor.                                                         

Anyone who attends Holy Mass, but is not a regular faithful of the chapel, should register on the list provided and give his telephone number. This is recommended in order to trace the possible chain of transmission.

These guidelines apply provisionally up to and including 31 March 2020. And given the size of our country, local circumstances may vary from place to place, so it will be up to the priors, having consulted their superior, to modify these guidelines according to the virtue of prudence.

Fr. Daniel Couture 
District Superior 
March 9, 2020
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
An Authentic Catholic Response to A Public Health Crisis

Rather than closing churches, forbidding Masses, and hiding, the proper Catholic response to a legitimate health crisis is one that has at its core prayer and the Sacraments, the source of God’s grace.

While we must make use of the natural means God gives us for cures and aides, such as medicine, such natural means do not replace our responsibility to intensify our prayers during a crisis. We do not put God to the test and demand miracles when He has already given us the natural means to find relief. But this in no way means that we should abandon the worship of Almighty God, which is one of our remedies to bring an end to any epidemic or pandemic. In Question 1154 of the Baltimore Catechism, we read: “In all our devotions and religious practices we must carefully guard against expecting God to perform miracles when natural causes may bring about what we hope for. God will sometimes miraculously help us, but, as a rule, only when all natural means have failed.”

Father Daniel Puga, SSPX comments: "It is not the time to empty the holy water fonts, it is not the time to close the churches, it is not the time to refuse Communion to the faithful or even the Sacraments to the sick. On the contrary, it is a time to come closer to God, to understand the meaning of these calamities. From time immemorial the Church, on the occasion of plagues and epidemics, has made public processions with manifestations of the Faith, this has been the occasion for the Church to preach penance. Penance, penance. As you know, this is the very beautiful passage from the Old Testament that we read earlier in the epistle: the fault of the pride of King David who wanted to count his people to have the satisfaction of knowing that he was leading a great nation. And the consequence of this was punishment by God. Yes, because God punishes as a father can punish his children. The punishment for this pride was a terrible plague, but as soon as God saw that hearts were turning towards Him, God made the angel of sickness stop taking revenge."

Holy Communion During Epidemics

While the Church may, in periods of crisis, omit the distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful, if Holy Communion is to be distributed, no authority may force the Faithful to receive our Lord in the hand.

Public Processions

In 1576 a plague struct Milan and the civil authorities abandoned the city and its people. Yet, St. Charles Borromeo, the Archbishop of the city, and his priests remained. He rebuked civil authorities for “having placed their trust in human rather than divine means.” Rather than flee, he organized efforts to feed roughly 60,000 – 70,000 people, bury the dead, administer Sacraments to the dying, and lead public processions. In fact, St. Charles Borromeo, as depicted in a famous image by Giovanni Battista Della Rovere, led a procession through the streets with a relic of the Holy Nail which pierced our Lord.

Likewise, centuries before in 590 when the plague ravished Rome, Pope St. Gregory the Great led a public profession through the streets with the people to implore God’s mercy. As he led the people through the streets on the way to St. Mary Major, they crossed the Bridge of the Angels when St. Michael the Archangel appeared above Castle Sant’Angelo. The Archangel sheathed his sword which signaled the end of the plague.

The 14 Holy Helpers

Devotion to the 14 Holy Helpers originated in the 14th century largely as a result of the bubonic plague.  The miracles attributed to this group saints, especially for medical miracles, won for them the distinction as the 14 Holy Helpers. The 14 Holy Helpers are comprised of:

1. St. Agathius
2. St. Barbara
3. St. Blaise
4. St. Catherine of Alexandria
5. St. Christopher
6. St. Cyriacus
7. St. Denis
8. St. Erasmus
9. St. Eustace
10. St. George
11. St. Giles
12. St. Margaret of Antioch
13. St. Pantaleon
14. St. Vitus

Bonaventure Hammer in "The Fourteen Holy Helpers” published in 1995 summarized their patronage: “Saint Christopher and Saint Giles were invoked against the plague itself. Saint Denis was prayed to for relief from headache, Saint Blaise for ills of the throat, Saint Elmo for abdominal maladies, Saint Barbara for fever, and Saint Vitus against epilepsy. Saint Pantaleon was the patron of physicians, Saint Cyriacus invoked against temptation on the deathbed, and Saints Christopher, Barbara, and Catherine for protection against a sudden and unprovided for death. Saint Giles was prayed to for a good confession and Saint Eustace as healer of family troubles. Domestic animals were also attacked by the plague, so Saints George, Elmo, Pantaleon, and Vitus were invoked for their protection. Saint Margaret of Antioch is the patron of safe childbirth.”

We should not neglect to pray especially to the 14 Holy Helpers during epidemics. In fact, making a novena to the Fourteen Holy Helpers would be a highly appropriate Catholic response that the bishops and priests should be encouraging the laity to perform.

Votive Masses 

During times of health crises, more priests should offer Votive Masses for the intention of averting the wrath of God and for mercy and health for those on earth. We find in the 1962 Missal the Votive Mass for the Deliverance from Death in Time of Pestilence.  The collect from the Mass reads: “O God, Who willest not the death of the sinner but that he should repent: welcome with pardon Thy people’s return to Thee: and so long as they are faithful in Thy service, do Thou in Thy clemency withdraw the scourge of Thy wrath.” We can pray this daily in our own prayer lives during epidemics.

Likewise, the Votive Mass for the Sick, also found in the 1962 Missal, implores in its collect prayer: “Almighty, everlasting God, the eternal salvation of those who believe, hear us in behalf of Thy sick servants, for whom we implore the help of Thy mercy, that being restored to health, they may render thanks to Thee in Thy Church.” We can likewise pray this on behalf of the sick.

Bishops may also order that an additional collect prayer to be added to the Mass for an on-going public calamity, which is said on certain days throughout the crisis.  In the 1962 rubrics, such a votive collect prayer can be said for the whole duration of said calamity, but only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. And the collect is prohibited on all liturgical days of the I and II class. In the pre-1955 missal, which incorporates the liturgical reforms of St. Pius X, the rubrics state: "If at the command of the Ordinary, collects of this sort (i.e. votive Collects for a specific cause) are to be said for a grave cause, they are omitted only on the vigils of Christmas and Pentecost, on Palm Sunday, and all Doubles of the First Class. But if they are expressly ordered to be said even on Doubles of the I class, then they are omitted only on Christmas, Epiphany, Holy Thursday, Holy Saturday, Easter, the Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity, Corpus Christi, Sacred Heart and Christ the King."

Prayer Against Epidemics

Click here for the traditional prayer against Epidemics to be said by priests.
Monday, March 9, 2020
Holy Communion on the Tongue May Never Be Denied

An important reminder, even during health crises, Holy Communion may never be denied on the tongue. No one may force Holy Communion in the Hand. In fact, it is sacrilegious and should never be done. If you are unable to receive Holy Communion on the tongue you can learn how to make a proper act of Spiritual Communion. Note, there are a few necessary requirements for this as mentioned in that article.

If there is a public health crisis, Mass can and should still be said. But the priest may simply not distribute Holy Communion to the Faithful. After all, we do not have to receive Holy Communion in order to fulfill our Sunday obligation. We are only required to receive Holy Communion once a year during the Easter Season, which is what is known as our "Easter Duty."

Back in the time of St. Louis IX, he received Holy Communion only six times a year and that was considered frequent. With the advent of more frequent Communion, even daily, under St. Pius X, people have begun to forget that we should only be approaching the Holy Altar if we are in the state of grace and we must never do it out of habit. By attending Mass we participate in the Sacrifice of the Altar. Receiving of that Sacrifice is only required by the priest, not the faithful.

Note: Holy Communion of course may be denied to public, unrepentant sinners. That is not the scope of this post. Assuming a soul is in the state of grace and appears at the altar to receive our Lord (i.e. their is a distribution of Communion at the Mass in question), that soul may always receive on the tongue. The priest may not force the person to receive our Lord in Holy Communion on the hand or else not receive the Sacrament at all.

  • Holy Communion in the Hand is never required
  • Holy Communion should not be received in the hand for any reason
  • If you can not receive Holy Communion on the Tongue, make an Act of Spiritual Communion
  • We do not have to receive Holy Communion to fulfill our Sunday obligation

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