What Livestreamed Mass Means to Me at This Time

A practicing Catholic shares her experiences and thoughts.

My parish live-streamed one Mass last Sunday, the biggest one, which had a cantor, organist, servers and lectors. No choir though – they cancelled the regular choir to limit close exposure. There were a few people there.

When it first started, you couldn’t hear the priest at all, and I thought, man, this is going to be worthless. But they quickly realized the problem and corrected it.

I don’t think they said anything about a “spiritual Communion” but I might have missed it? They did regular Communion with the regular words and even had three Eucharistic ministers.

It actually wasn’t awkward at all. I liked seeing our regular priest, whom I know and admire. It was nice to have something stable and predictable when everything else is topsy-turvy. At that exact moment, it maybe did seem a little strange, like Wow, this is really something. But now I look back on it fondly as everything else is slipping away. I suspect it was the last “live” Mass I’ll participate in, albeit remotely, for a long time. I would think that if they move to remote Masses, they won’t have a congregation or music or servers, and so forth. Maybe if the monastery offered Mass remotely, you could have music since the monks are all together there already.

I strongly hope that there will be local efforts for live-streamed Masses. I guess it may always be available on cable TV channels. But I strongly hope that I can see our parish priest, in my church, saying Mass like he always has. It really would be comforting.

At the same time, it has to be balanced against whether it puts him at risk – although if it’s just him and the videographer and they aren’t already sick, it should be okay. I’d miss the music, but I would give that up to keep the musicians safe at home. Maybe they could play some recorded music or something instead.

I think resources for praying alone at home will be important, but a live-streamed Mass would be great too. If I had to choose, I’d pick the live-streamed Mass. There are already so many resources available online that I don’t really need help there. And if someone doesn’t have any technology, I’m not even sure how you reach them. In reality, many of those are the elderly, such as those 80 or up, probably know how to pray at home already and will be doing that – rosaries, all the traditional prayers, and so forth.

One comment

  1. When my then-86+ y/o mother began her 4 years of successive UTIs and accompanying bouts of delirium from infections going to her head, I learned the incomparable value of so-called “rote” prayers. She was having plausible delusions (the Ds – delirium, delusions, dementia – are distinct things – you can get delusions (plausible and, shall we say, implausible) with deliria and dementia, but i digress), but basically knew who her family was et cet. When we began reciting the Rosary, she joined, even persisting when my slightly different wording of the Apostles Creed threw her and my father off; it was a great solace and calming thing. It was like beholding a beached sea mammal getting back into the sea.

    There is a special plenary indulgence for the faithful at the hour of death who die without the benefit of the sacraments, and its condition is that they have had some habit of prayer during their lifetime.


    §1 A priest who administers the sacraments to someone in danger of death should not fail to impart the apostolic blessing to which a plenary indulgence is attached.

    §2 If a priest is unavailable, Holy Mother Church benevolently grants to the Christian faithful, who are duly disposed, a plenary indulgence to be acquired at the point of death, provided they have been in the habit of reciting some prayers during their lifetime; in such a case, the Church supplies for the three conditions ordinarily required for a plenary indulgence.

    §3 In this latter case, the use of a crucifix or a cross in obtaining the plenary indulgence is commendable.

    §4 The faithful can obtain this plenary indulgence at the hour of death, even if they have already acquired a plenary indulgence on that same day.

    §5 The catechetical instruction of the faithful should ensure that they are duly made aware and frequently reminded of this salutary benefaction of the Church.

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