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What to Do When You Can’t Go to Mass

Metal crucifix illuminated in a dark room by three candles

With the announcement that all public Masses are suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, many Catholics are wondering how to maintain their own spiritual health while protecting the physical health of their community members. Losing regular access to the Eucharist, the real presence of Jesus Christ, is tremendously sad. However, our connection to God has never been limited to the time at Mass on Sunday mornings. If we let it, this time away from the beloved Sacraments can be an invitation to draw closer to God. We have gathered resources and prayers from various places online to help you be spiritually nourished during this time.

Virtually “Attend” Mass 

It’s important to note that Masses are not canceled during this time. The public may not be able to attend, but priest will still offer Mass privately each day for the good of the faithful. Many of these priests are making their Mass available to us through the internet. Browse around Facebook or YouTube long enough and you’ll find a live stream that you can watch Mass in real-time; or, watch a prerecorded Mass on-demand using the links below. Gather the whole family and participate as if you are actually there.

  • ArchIndy – Archbishop Thompson and other priests of the Archdiocese will celebrate a Mass each day that will be posted on the homepage.
  • EWTN - Several Masses each day are broadcast and streamed. Check their schedule for exact times.
  • Daily TV Mass: A video is posted each morning for that day’s Mass.
  • Word on Fire: Mass with either Bishop Robert Barron or Fr. Steve Grunow, CEO of Word on Fire. Posted daily at 8:15 am.
  • Archdiocese of Cincinnati: Live stream at 8:00 am Monday through Saturday and Sundays: 9:30 am (Spanish) and 11:00 am (English).
  • Notre Dame Cathedral, South Bend: Live streamed Sundays at 10 am

Make an Act of Spiritual Communion 

A long-standing practice in the Church for those unable to physically receive the Eucharist is to make a Spiritual Communion. To do this, simply place yourself in the presence of God, who is everywhere, and express your desire to be united with the Blessed Sacrament. You can use these words from St. Alphonsus Ligouri: 

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. Amen.

A spiritual communion can be made at any time. It is especially appropriate to make if you are watching a Mass online, during the time when the faithful in attendance receive Him. More information can be found at Ave Maria Press.

Liturgy of the Word

It is always good to spend time reading and reflecting on Scripture. Use the resources below to follow along while watching Mass, or learn how to pray with Scripture using lexio divina.

  • USCCB - Great for looking ahead to the Sunday readings.
  • Magnificat - Readings, reflections, and daily prayers, offered free during this time.
  • iBrievary - Always free, offers daily readings and Liturgy of the Hours 

Participate in the Devotional Life of the Church

As we all practice some form of social distancing these next few weeks, it’s likely you’ll be looking for ways to fill the time that typically would go to sports, commuting, eating out, or being with friends and extended family. Now is the perfect time to turn to prayer! Below you’ll find several tried-and-true devotionals along with prayers specifically for this time of crisis. 

The Holy Rosary 

Divine Mercy Chaplet 

Stations of the Cross

Liturgy of the Hours

  • iBrievary - Possibly the simplest way to pray the Hours, iBrievary gives you the full prayers on your phone.
  • Explanation video from Fr. Cassidy Stinson

Pope Francis’s Prayer during the Pandemic

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 the Roman 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.

Prayer from Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, President of USCCB

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Coronavirus Novena by

  • Sign up to get daily emails beginning March 20 to pray for God’s healing, help, and protection during the pandemic.
  • Also available with their app for iPhone and Android


Learn About the Faith

Substitute some of the time watching Netflix and Disney+ with… videos about the faith? You read that right. Linked below is an abundance of high-quality videos that can help us understand many aspects of our faith–from weekly homilies to answering questions we all ask at some point.

  • Formed - Thousands of movies, programs, audio, and books. Free when you sign up through Holy Family.
  • Ascension Presents - Videos, podcasts, and articles by leading Catholic speakers and writers like Fr. Mike Schmitz and Matt Fradd.
  • Life Teen on YouTube - Videos covering weekly Gospel readings and current events made specifically for teens, released each Wednesday. 

Enter Into the Desert

This Lent may look drastically different than we expected, but if we continue turning to prayer we may gain a deeper understanding of what it means to enter into the desert with Jesus. It is true that we are in a time of uncertainty, but there is no reason to be afraid. As Fr. Gries told us in his homily this past weekend: If we have faith, then we have peace. We can turn to God in prayer and Scripture, where He can give us the peace He desires to fill our hearts with.

Fr. Gries and the staff at Holy Family want each of you to know that we are praying for you, as always. Although community life may look different now, we are still here to support you as a parish so stay tuned as we figure out what that looks like! If you need anything, please contact us at [email protected], [email protected], or 812-944-8283.


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