COVID-19 and Mass
In light of the measures taken by the New Zealand Government for the common good for the safety of all people in light of the Covid-19 pandemic the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference have agreed to suspend all Masses including Sunday Mass until further notice in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Mass is core to our Catholic identity and the Eucharist is the “source and summit of our Christian life” [Lumen Gentium, 11]. However people need to be aware that Bishop Pat formally gives the People of God dispensation from the obligation to participate at Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation (cc 87 #1, 1247).
Christianity is a gathering religion. Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I amongst them. The Catholic Liturgy is a gathering activity. The Church calls her people to gather each Sunday, the Lord’s Day.
With Covid-19 upon us, we are facing a new way of doing things – temporarily we hope. While it is our habit to meet weekly and, by our participation in it, pray the Eucharist, we must for a time find new ways of doing things. Through the generosity of many people, a daily video of a Mass celebrated somewhere in Auckland is being offered to us online.
Our challenge is to be prayers of the Mass, not simply watchers of the Mass. What might help us to do this? Prepare a ‘sacred space’ beforehand, perhaps with a cloth of liturgical colour and candle, aim to listen closely, respond at the appropriate times, read the readings before Mass begins and welcome Jesus into your heart during Communion. Because of the time constraints of videoing, it is difficult to allow times of silence during the Mass; maybe take a few moments of silent prayer at the end. And as there is a limit to the good works we can currently get involved in, celebrate this Eucharist by praying specifically for one group of people affected by the Covid-19 virus, perhaps those people dying alone and without a funeral, or health workers or supermarket workers.
You can find the daily Mass resources here.