The thought of spending Holy Week at home is inconceivable for most Catholics. But as the coronavirus spread, the unthinkable is becoming reality.
Southwestern Pennsylvania isn’t alone in this. Public Masses have been suspended nationwide. Pope Francis hasn’t celebrated a public Mass for weeks and will livestream Holy Week Masses without a congregation.
So how do we make it a good and holy week?
“It is still an intensive time to pray and come together as a family,” said Father Howard Campbell, regional vicar of Vicariate 3. “There is a longing of the heart to receive Holy Communion, and the absence this week can intensify our longing.”
Father Campbell said all Catholics can make a Spiritual Communion to united with Jesus in the absence of the Eucharist. He encouraged them to read the Passion accounts in all four Gospels (Click here for Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).
“Study the nuances in them. Do you see yourself in the crowd?” he asked. “With whom do you identify?”
Bishop David Zubik has encouraged everyone to discover ways that the Holy Spirit is working, despite social isolation and lockdown.
“This Holy Week will be unlike any other that I’ve ever celebrated and the same is true for you, too,” Bishop Zubik said, “but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the opportunity to really look for ways to connect with God and connect with each other.
“This pandemic has limited us, but it has not and cannot limit what God can do for us through the power of His love and Grace.”
Spiritual resources, including making an Act of Perfect Contrition, prayers, devotions, reflections and links to streamed Masses are available here.