Friday 20 March 2020

What to do when you can’t get to Mass

When we cannot get to Mass, there is not substitute. There is nothing else on earth that comes close to being there as Christ becomes present under the forms of bread and wine on our altar. We should express our sadness and our desire to be united with Jesus in our prayers to him. This is called an act of spiritual communion, whether we use our own words or a prayer composed by others. Some of these are provided below.

The Catechism says:

If…for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful…engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families. (CCC 2183)

When there is no Mass we can attend, we are not obliged to watch Mass online, although many will find this a helpful way of praying with the Church. We will be streaming two Masses live each day from the Oratory through our YouTube channel. Many other churches are also streaming their Masses. We have included some links below.

Our stream will be live at the following times:

Monday–Saturday 8am (EF Low Mass); 6pm (English Low Mass with sermon)

Sunday 8am (EF Low Mass with sermon); 11am (Latin Sung Mass with sermon); 5:30pm (Vespers & Benediction)

You could also spend some time reflecting on the readings of Mass each day. These can be found at for the Ordinary Form, or for the Extraordinary Form.

Both websites also provide you with all the prayers of the Divine Office in each form. After the Mass, this is the greatest prayer of the Church, and consists of portions of the Psalms that are recited at different times of the day. One way of marking Sunday as a special day might be to say Morning Prayer (Lauds). We plan to stream Vespers and Benediction each Sunday. The monks of Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux stream the full office every day, which you can listen to here:

Above all, at this time, is important that we have regular habits of prayer. Prayer should be something special because it is time spent with someone important to us, not because it is something rare. Our routines and familiar prayers should be a consolation while we look forward to getting back to Mass and receiving Holy Communion.

Our Live Stream and Recordings

Readings and Prayers for the Mass and Divine Office

Other streams

Vatican News (Papal Daily Mass)
St Gregory & Augustine, Oxford (Daily Mass)
Lent in Isolation (Daily reflection, daily Mass)
Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Gricigliano (Solemn Mass on Sundays)
Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux (Divine Office, daily).


Psalm 41 (42)

Like the deer that yearns for running streams,
so my soul is yearning for you, my God.
My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life;
when can I enter and see the face of God?
My tears have become my bread, by night, by day,
as I hear it said all the day long: "Where is your God?"
These things will I remember as I pour out my soul:
how I would lead the rejoicing crowd into the house of God,
amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving, the throng wild with joy.
Why are you cast down, my soul, why groan within me?
Hope in God; I will praise him still, my saviour and my God.
My soul is cast down within me as I think of you,
from the country of Jordan and Mount Hermon, from the Hill of Mizar.
Deep is calling on deep, in the roar of waters;
your torrents and all your waves swept over me.
By day the Lord will send his loving kindness;
by night I will sing to him, praise the God of my life.
I will say to God, my rock: "Why have your forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning oppressed by the foe?"
With cries that pierce me to the heart, my enemies revile me,
saying to me all day long: "Where is your God?"
Why are you cast down, my soul, why groan within me?
Hope in God; I will praise him still, my saviour and my God.

Psalm 62 (63)

O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory.
For your love is better than life, my lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life, in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet, my mouth shall praise you with joy.
On my bed I remember you. On you I muse through the night
for your have been my help; in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
My soul clings to you; your right hand holds me fast.
Those who seek to destroy my life shall go down to the depths of the earth.
They shall be put into the power of the sword and left as the prey of the jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God; (all that swear by him shall be blessed,)
for the mouth of liars shall be silenced.

An Act of Spiritual Communion by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

My Jesus, I believe you are present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul. Since I cannot receive you in Holy Communion now, at least come spiritually into my heart. As if you have already come to me, I embrace you and join myself wholly to you; do not allow me to distance myself from you. Amen.

Another Prayer of Spiritual Communion

I wish, Lord, to receive you with the purity, humility and devotion
with which your most holy Mother received you,
with the spirit and fervour of the saints.

Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, be my sanctification;
Body of Christ, be my salvation;
Blood of Christ, fill all my veins;
Water of Christ’s side, wash out my stains;
Passion of Christ, my comfort be;
O good Jesu, listen to me;
In thy wounds I fain would hide;
Never to be parted from thy side;
Guard me, should the foe assail me;
Call me when my life shall fail me;
Bid me come to thee above,
With all thy saints to sing thy love,
World without end. Amen.