In our homes we can connect ourselves more closely to the Church’s liturgical life. This can be done even in simple ways, such as setting aside a special place to pray, maybe with a candle, a crucifix and a bible there, together with rosary beads.
You can keep a set time(s) each day to pray. If you normally meet with a prayer group, keep that time and pray virtually with them. You can use a group call app but just knowing that others are praying at that same time as you can be powerful in prayer.
Redemptorist publications have kindly provided us with Mass sheets so that our parishioners can follow along with Sunday Mass at home:
Green Mass sheet – 28 June (contains the full text of the readings, the responses and the Mass prayers)
Red Mass sheet – 28th June (the full order of Mass and the prayers of the day, including the full texts of the scripture readings)
Weekly homilies. The website ‘Torch’ seeks to share inspiring Catholic preaching from the Dominican Friars. They publish a homily for every Sunday of the year to fit with the readings at Mass, plus additional sermons on other important liturgical days. We include a full index of previous homilies indexed by liturgical day, so you can easily find preaching for that day. https://www.english.op.org/about-torch.htm
Prayers and spiritual communities. The website ‘Hozana’ has a huge number of prayers. Their mission is to make the world more prayerful, through the communion of saints: join spiritual communities, pray alongside regular publications, and bring your friends! These communities are run by laypersons, parishes, dioceses, organizations, charities, as well as religious communities. Join one or more communities that speak to your heart! Publications, or posts, are the means of communication between the community and its members. They are released periodically by the community bearer or the community manager and contain quality spiritual material that will help you pray. To check out your communities’ publications, visit your prayer space on your homepage. You may also receive new publications by email. A huge collection of online prayer groups that you can join, hosted by the Catholic Truth Society https://hozana.org/en/communities
Confession when a Priest is not available. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the spiritual ways with which we prepare ourselves for the meaningful celebration of Easter. But this year of the COVID-19 crisis, the opportunity for confession is extremely difficult; hence, we follow what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us when there is the need for confession in a situation when no priest is available. Pope Francis, echoing the Catechism nos. 1451 and 1452, has made this clarification amid this problematic pastoral situation:
“I know that many of you go to confession before Easter… Many will say to me: ‘But Father…I can’t leave the house and I want to make my peace with the Lord. I want Him to embrace me… How can I do that unless I find a priest?’ Do what the catechism says. It’s very clear. If you don’t find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He’s your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord. I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, ‘afterwards I will go to confession.’ You will return to God’s grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God’s forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.” (Homily, Casa Santa Marta Chapel, Pope Francis, March 20, 2020).
Three essential elements of confession without having a priest at hand:
Confession of sins to God
Act of Perfect Contrition
Resolution to go to sacramental confession as soon as it is possible
A prayer ritual to guide us.
Preparation: Find a quiet space; light a candle; quieten your mind, turning to our Lord Jesus.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Reading: Hosea 6:1-3
Come, let us return to the Lord; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth.
Take a quiet moment to reflect on these words.
Confession: Speak directly to God our Father – tell him your sins, then pray:
“Father, forgive me for these and all my sins as I ask your pardon with all my heart.”
“I resolve to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as it is possible.”
Act of Contrition: My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart in choosing to do wrong and failing to do good. I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy on me. Amen.
In silence hear these words from Luke’s Gospel:
Gospel: Luke 15:20-24
But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe –the best one – and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!”
Now pray in the words Jesus taught us: Our Father…
Spend a few minutes in quiet prayer to thank God for His love and mercy and end your prayer:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Other ways to pray at home:
Liturgy of the Hours
You can access these through Universalis: https://universalis.com/index-detail.htm
This link explains what Liturgy of the Hours is and together with links to each Hour. The website changes every day so that the prayers are tailored to that day/week in the liturgical calendar. It also allows you to access seven days ahead. This is a free site, so you do not need to pay for any extra downloads. Please email Lorraine in the parish office if you would like some help and she can call you
One of the greatest forms of contemplative prayer available to the faithful is the Rosary. At heart it is a series of meditations on some aspects, or mysteries, of the life of Jesus Christ and Mary his mother. If families are unfamiliar with praying the Rosary together, the following link may help: http://catholicfaith.co.uk/downloads/rosaryinstruction.pdf. Normally only one set of mysteries is prayed at a time.
Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross are a mini pilgrimage; a set of prayers and meditations which help us to remember and share in the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. This meditation on the death of Our Lord is undertaken by individuals and groups throughout the whole year but is a particularly popular devotion during the season of Lent. The Stations of the Cross make tangible every imaginable aspect of human suffering, all of which were on full display in the events of Christ’s passion. And the Stations teach us to see the suffering’s purpose, especially in a time when so much of it surrounds us.
The Parish of St Edwards, Kettering has a lovely page where you can follow each station: http://www.stedwardskettering.org.uk/stations-introduction/
Whilst we often curse the fact that we are constantly connected and available due to modern technology, it has been a blessing that parishes and dioceses are livestreaming their daily or Sunday Masses, including Pope Francis. While the faithful are not able to be present at the Masses and services, such livestreams are a good reminder that the Church is still publicly at prayer and that God is still being worshipped. All the baptized share in the spiritual fruits and graces of each and every Mass and can unite their sacrifices to the sacrifice of Christ, even if remotely. That’s because each Mass is an act of worship on behalf of the whole Church — the Body of Christ, of which each of us becomes members at our baptism. Above all, it’s most important to remember our unity with the Lord and how that can be strengthened by a spiritual communion. Through such a simple prayer, we can receive all fruits of the sacrament even during times as dire as we are presented with today.
The Cathedral: https://northamptondiocese.org/live/
Walsingham Shrine: https://www.walsingham.org.uk/live-stream/
The Vatican: http://www.vaticannews.va