With many of our parishioners opting for personal reason to attend Mass virtually, it is important to remember that there is a difference between just watching Mass (as you would a movie or show) and participating in Mass. Whether attending in person or online, all the faithful are reminded that prayerful preparation and reverent participation are necessary parts of proper liturgical worship. What you bring to the Mass, how you participate in it, and how you live it out the rest of the week are important aspects of our communal worship and the impact on our own spiritual life as well as the life of the Church.
Here are some tips to put into practice while participating in Mass:
- Plan in advance – decide ahead of time which Mass you will “attend” and invite others in your family to attend at the same time. All six of our weekend Masses are now live-streamed allowing our parishioners more flexibility in planning on which Mass to attend.
- Fast for at least an hour before-hand just as you would if attending in person.
- Dress up – since working at home has become the norm for many, our every day dress is more casual than in the past. Taking some care and preparation in what you wear to participate in Mass will help shift your focus from the everyday to the idea that you are preparing for something special.
- Arrive early – not only does this allow time to straighten out any technical issues but taking a few minutes before Mass begins, to prepare your heart, will help you more prayerfully enter into the celebration of the Mass.
- Location – choose a quiet area of the house where you won’t be distracted. Consider lighting a candle or two. Try to make a crucifix, rather than the computer/TV, your visual focal point.
- Posture – if you are able, perform the physical posturing (standing, sitting, kneeling) and gestures (sign of the cross, bowing, etc) just as you would if you were present in person. While this may seem awkward, our exterior participation can both reflect and influence our interior disposition during worship.
- Verbalize – this may also seem awkward at first but saying the common Mass parts (the responses, Gloria, Creed, etc) aloud will make the biggest difference between just watching the Mass and actually being a part of the Mass. Try to have a copy of the Act of Spiritual Communion handy to pray and reflect upon while Eucharist is being distributed.