Dear St. Patrick Parishioners,
The closing of parishes and the cancelation of liturgies within our Youngstown Diocese and throughout the US is a dramatic move, one that is especially heartbreaking since it disrupts our Lenten journey toward Holy Week and the Easter Triduum. During times of crisis, we lean more heavily on our Catholic Faith and Church; to have that taken away when we need it most is a bitter irony.
But Christians are nothing if not persevering. With 2,000 years of history behind us, we can recall many times and places where the followers of Jesus have endured persecution and trouble. In today’s crisis, people of faith are already showing great resilience. Together, we will get through this, encouraging one another in the faith, helping the most vulnerable, and spreading the Gospel through prayer and actions within our individual circles.
While public Masses are canceled, it remains imperative for the Catholic family of St. Patrick to pray, worship and commune with God and one another—from home. We are all part of the body of Christ. During this unprecedented time of sacrifice, I want you to know that I am grateful to you as you do what you can from your homes to help people encounter God and his love. That is needed more urgently now than perhaps ever before. We are all in this together. With so many changes, cancellations, and suspensions, we have been given days of silence and reflection – it has a “feel” as if it Is Good Friday every day.
We might each ask ourselves: How can I best make use of these quiet, still days? Perhaps we can turn off the news once in a while, stop wondering what will happen tomorrow, and trust in Jesus today. Day by day things will unravel, and day by day He will be with us.
God’s blessings – always,
Fr. Richard Pentello
Dear Beloved St. Patrick Parishioners,
What follows is what was received from the Worship Office of the Diocese of Youngstown regarding Spiritual Communion. I encourage every household – whether individuals or families – to avail themselves to Spiritual Communion during these days when public Mass is not being celebrated.
Fr. Richard Pentello
Spiritual Communion via Live-Streamed or Televised Mass
Viewing a live-streamed, online, or televised Mass is an opportunity for the faithful to remain connected to the Sacrifice of the Mass during this difficult time. Please share with parishioners through your parish social media platforms the times which daily and Sunday Mass can be viewed. A complete schedule can be found on the Diocesan website: www.doy.org under the Media tab. Another source includes: www.watchtheMass.com from the CatholicTV Network offering daily Mass in English Sunday through Friday and in Spanish every Sunday.
The Act of Spiritual Communion has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion, which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion is an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament and lovingly embrace him at a time or in circumstances when one cannot receive Him in sacramental Communion. The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.
Below are recommendations that can be shared with parishioners on how to make a ‘spiritual communion’ when unable to participate in Mass. These can be adapted based upon personal and family needs:
- Gather with others in your household and begin a time of prayer with the sign of the cross.
- Take time to read and reflect upon the readings from Sunday Mass. Scripture readings can be found at usccb.org. Additionally, a televised schedule of Mass is available at www.doy.org under Media tab.
- Share prayer intentions quietly or aloud.
- Pray the Lord’s Prayer.
- Offer a prayer for healing, strength, or forgiveness or any prayer available during the coronavirus pandemic. If viewing Mass, offer a prayer during the normal time of Communion.
PRAYER FOR SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace you as if you were already there
and unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you.
PRAYER TO THE VIRGIN MARY FOR PROTECTION
O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as
a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, health of the sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain,
with steadfast faith.
You know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that,
as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection.
- Close with the sign of the cross.
Below is a prayer sent to us from the Vatican (Office of the Congregation of Divine Sacraments):
Let us pray, dearly beloved,
to God the Father almighty,
that he may extend his hand in mercy
to all those affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Almighty ever-living God,
heal those who are ill,
comfort those who mourn,
give solace to all who are afraid and alone,
and protect those who are providing medical care.
Make us instruments of your peace
among our brothers and sisters.
In your mercy, alleviate our fears
and eliminate this scourge,
so that we may come together again
to give you praise and to build your Kingdom.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.