Although we are experiencing a pandemic, we as Christians need to remain hopeful, to stay positive and to trust in the Lord. The fact that this is happening during Lent provides us with a great opportunity because this is when we should be focusing on prayer, fasting and almsgiving. This time calls us to reach out to those who are in need. This may include helping someone with grocery shopping, picking up the phone to ask if they are doing okay or in need of any assistance, etc. When you shop and struggle to find the items you need, use it as an opportunity to thank God for the blessings and offer up your suffering for those who go without food or who have been struggling with this pandemic. Thankfully for us, there are so many online resources that can help us to pray better! Some organizations have even made their subscriptions free for a period as a way of helping us to stay spiritually nourished during this time. Don’t waste this time or dwell on the challenges and get depressed but take advantage of this situation by praying more fervently and growing spiritually with your family during this Lenten season in the year that we have dedicated to Family Life and Spirituality.
- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) publishes the daily readings for Mass each day, in both English and Spanish. You can watch a video reflection on the readings or listen to them as they are proclaimed by clicking here.
- Listen to Bishop Robert Barron’s homily on the Sunday readings on his Word on Fire website. In light of this pandemic, Bishop Barron is also offering daily Mass videos. You can also sign up to receive daily Gospel reflections from Bishop Barron.
- Spend time on EWTN Global Catholic Network, a great Catholic online resource that offers Catholic TV, Radio, News, Lenten Programs, and more!
- Pray the Rosary, either individually or as a family. It takes only 15 minutes.
- Consider a new Catholic subscription-based app called Hallow. During this pandemic, the developers have extended their free trial from 1 week to 3 months.
- Pray the Divine Office, also known as the Liturgy of the Hours. You can access the complete office online at Universalis. You can also download the iBreviary app on your phone (I use this app every day to pray the Divine Office). When you open the app, click “Today” at the top, click “Pray” at the top left, then click “Breviary” from the menu and choose the time of day would like to pray.
- Download the Laudate app on your phone. It has daily readings, prayers, stations of the cross, chaplets and more! I recommend clicking “Daily Readings & Saint of the Day,” then selecting a specific podcast or clicking “All podcasts together.” This is a free app and a wonderful way to begin your day, even while commuting.
- FORMED is an online Catholic resource of movies, documentaries, Scripture studies, faith formation videos, eBooks, podcasts and more. Resources are available for children and adults, in both English and Spanish. You can sign up by searching for our neighboring parish, Our Lady of Grace, and creating your own free account.
- Magnificat Magazine is offering complimentary access to the online version of their popular daily devotional publication, which includes readings for Mass, Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and spiritual reading. Subscriptions (print and digital) usually cost $47/year, but the online access is currently being offered for free.
- Participate in the celebration of the Eucharist by way of video-stream or live stream over the internet:
— The Immaculata Parish (USD Campus) Live stream – Sunday’s at 11:00 am WATCH
— Diocese of San Diego (video uploaded every Saturday at 5:00 pm) WATCH
— Bishop Robert Barron is offering daily Mass for the foreseeable future WATCH
— Fr. Mike Schmitz WATCH
— EWTN Live stream at 8:00 am and 12:00 pm Eastern Time WATCH
— Catholic Extension at 10:00 am Central Time WATCH
— Heart of the Nation WATCH
— CatholicTV WATCH
— Pope Francis daily Masses and more WATCH
— Mary, Star of the Sea WATCH
— Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral WATCH
— Sacred Heart Church WATCH
— All Hallows WATCH
— Corpus Christi WATCH
— Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter WATCH
— Check out this schedule of internet broadcasts, put together by the Knights of Columbus.
- Spiritual Communion: I encourage you to receive Jesus spiritually by praying the following prayer and also by visiting this link to read a beautiful reflection about fasting from the Eucharist that was written by Pope Benedict XVI.
- Come to church to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance. We will continue to have confession on Wednesday’s from 5:00 – 6:00 pm in the Children’s Chapel, or by appointment. Please maintain a six foot distance as you line up for confession outside the Children’s Chapel. An examination of conscience can help you prepare, hard copies are also available on the side tables in the church.
- Don’t forget to continue to support the parish financially. Even though public celebration of the Eucharist will be suspended, ministry is alive and continues: the parish office will remain open, operating expenses accrue, employees need to be paid, those who are hungry need to be helped by way of our Food Pantry, and more. Offertory envelopes or checks can be mailed to the parish office. To support the parish regularly and without the use of offertory envelopes, eGiving is an easy and safe option.
- Franciscan University of Steubenville offers some wonderful resources, including a series titled, “Metanoia: A Journey With Christ into Conversion.”
- Give Us This Day helps you to pray daily while receiving inspiration from the lives of the saints and reflecting on Scripture.
- Living with Christ has provided free access to their prayer and liturgy resources. You can access daily Mass readings, downloadable prayer journals, and specific prayers for coronavirus by clicking here.
- The Word Among Us has provided free access to their online magazine content, which includes daily Mass readings and meditations.
- GIA Publications has provided a variety of resource recommendations, prayer and music ideas. There are resources for parents, teachers and opportunities for personal prayer and development.
- Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a great resource for parents, children and families who want to pray together. They also provide formation resources for adults.
- RENEW International is offering online resources to help small groups and individuals during this period. Their resources include webinars and an online faith-sharing series.
- Loyola Press offers many prayer resources, including three-minute retreats, family prayers and information about Ignatian Spirituality.
- Oregon Catholic Press is providing worship resources to stream music.
- Our Sunday Visitor is providing free digital resources for Faith Formation at Home.
- Sadlier is providing free online 10-minute retreat reflections.
- Pflaum is a faith-formation program that provides various resources for families.
- Catechist.com contains resources you can use with your children at home.
- Additional Resources from the USCCB:
— Continuity of Learning and Community Plan for Parents and Students LINK
— The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy During the COVID-19 Pandemic LINK
— Educational Resources and Ongoing Discipleship Formation LINK
— Ideas and Recommendations for Families with Children who have Diverse Learning Needs LINK
— Daily Readings in Audio Form LINK
— Daily Reflection Video LINK
Sincerely, Father Devdas Masillamony