Online Catholic Mass

What is “online Mass”?

(Haz clic por tradución castellano.)

Taking part in church services has been denied to millions of people across Europe and the wider world. For Catholic faithful, the weekly obligation to assist at the Mass has been lifted by the Pope himself, recognizing that safety must come first.

Consequently some very innovative technical “solutions” have been found by creative and dedicated priests – together with their lay parish teams – to bring you Mass online.

Now let me be honest with you: when I first heard of the idea I thought, “That may be an interesting idea, but who wants to be a spectator at the Mass?” My initial reaction to the idea was that it might be likened to going on a pilgrimage to Rome, but when you arrived there, simply taking selfies outside Saint Peter’s instead of entering to receive communion by the tomb of the Apostle.

Sorry, I was wrong about that. Yesterday I experienced it for the first time, and joined the parish in the church of Saint Francis, Nailsea in Bristol. This is the parish church attended by Jenny and Tom, who some of you know are the parents of Cait Edwards who lives in Finestrat. She told me about the invitation to online Mass there. The key to the success of this is the Prayer of Spiritual Communion:

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in this Holy Sacrament of the altar. I love you above all things and I passionately desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come spiritually into my soul, so that I may unite myself wholly to you now and forever. Amen.

This, when you say it – in the full realisation of that separation from the opportunity to physically partake of the sacrament – is a powerful experience indeed. I was unprepared for that moment yesterday, and it was almost a shock. No, let me be honest. It WAS a shock.

The shock of separation. It was a sudden paradoxical happening: that in the very act of acknowledging our separation, we are forming a powerful bond of spiritual community. Does that make sense?

I think it does. And the explanation is not in the technology, it is in the gentle brush of an angel’s wing.