February 16, 2021
In his Message for Lent 2021, Pope Francis writes: “During this season of conversion, let us renew our faith, draw from the “living water” of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God, who makes us brothers and sisters in Christ.” In the days of Lent, a very important traditional practice, by which we are renewed in faith, hope and love, is frequent participation in the mass. The Archdiocese of Edmonton offers the following points for our reflection to encourage and guide our active participation in the sacred liturgy during these pandemic times.
- Parishes are taking all necessary precautions to keep everyone safe. If you are healthy and able, and if your home parish has space for you, it is best to attend mass in person.
- If you cannot attend mass in person, choose to watch a live-streamed celebration rather than a recorded one whenever possible. Live-streamed liturgies unfold in the present moment, and thus afford the opportunity for those participating virtually to join in real time with the Church at prayer.
- Create an appropriate atmosphere in your home to follow the live-streamed mass. For example, fashion a sense of sacred space by displaying the Bible, a crucifix, candles, or an image of Our Lord and Our Lady.
- Turn off all distractions, including the phone. Do not try to multitask by participating in the celebration while doing other things around the home.
- While not necessary for participation in a live-streamed mass, you could nevertheless choose to prepare spiritually by honouring the one-hour Eucharistic fast prior to the beginning of the liturgy. Reverence would also keep us from consuming food or drink during the liturgy unless required for medical reasons.
- Take some time for prayer before mass. Read prayerfully beforehand the Scriptural readings assigned for the mass in order to be fully attentive to the Word of God when it is proclaimed.
- Tune in on time. Make the sacred liturgy the first priority of your day.
- Dress appropriately, as you would for in-person participation at church.
- Be conscious of assuming an attentive posture. Choosing to follow mass from a chair rather than a sofa or recliner, for example, may help in this regard.
- If others at home join you, create an atmosphere of reverence and attentiveness throughout the celebration.
- Actively respond at the appropriate times as you would if present in the church.
- Assume the appropriate liturgical postures throughout mass by standing for the introductory rites, sitting for the readings, standing for the Gospel, kneeling for consecration, etc.
- Make an act of spiritual communion during the Communion Rite, thereby uniting yourself to Jesus Christ spiritually even if you cannot do so sacramentally at this time.
- Continue to support your parish financially through pre-authorized withdrawal or by sending in your donation by mail. If you need assistance in this regard, contact your home parish.