(A Pastoral Instruction from Bishop Broderick Pabillo)
My dear People of God in the Archdiocese of Manila,
We all feel the great void of not being able to physically participate in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Surely the online Mass is not the same as going to Church to celebrate the Holy Mass. Perhaps this void should make us realize the great opportunity that we have here in the Archdiocese of being able to come to Mass regularly every Sunday, if not every day. This is not so in many parts of our country. Consider that in many small chapels in the provinces our fellow Catholics do not have Mass every Sunday. It is good if they have one once a month or even a few times a year for lack of priests and the means of transportation. They are not even able to follow online Masses because of the lack of connectivity. In this extraordinary time, we get a small taste of their ordinary fare.
But since we have the online Mass, let us make the most of it. I give you some tips how to profit better from this poor substitute. Since you know the time of the Mass, prepare yourselves well for it. Do not watch it with a cup of coffee in hand. Before the Mass read the Mass readings to prepare yourselves to hear them better once they are proclaimed in the Eucharist. You can know the Mass readings through the Catholic Bible Reading Guide, the Pandasal, the many books that give us the daily Bible readings and even some commentaries on them, or you can access these readings online. Have a few moments too to think what you are to thank the Lord for and what to offer to him this Mass. Remember that you are praying this Eucharist with many other fellow Catholics not only in your parish but all over the world.
Stay in a reverent gesture throughout the Mass, standing or sitting up properly. It would be good if the whole family in the house joins together in the Mass. Do not just watch the Mass. Join in it with your prayers, responses, and singing. At the time of communion, make the "spiritual communion". You can pray this beautiful prayer attributed to St. Alphonsus de Liguori:
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into 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. Amen.
At the end of the online Mass, take some moment of silence to read again the Scripture readings and reflect how, enlightened by the homily, you can live God’s Word that day.
I hope these simple tips can help in making the most of the online Masses. Do not worry. This situation of not being able to come to Church for the Mass is temporary. May this temporary deprivation bear fruit in a fuller appreciation of the great gift of the Eucharist that we in the Archdiocese are privileged to participate in regularly. God bless you and let us be one asking the Lord to avert the pandemic caused by COVID 19.
Mother Mary Health of the Sick, pray for us!
Your Servant in the Lord Jesus,
BISHOP BRODERICK PABILLO
Apostolic Administrator of Manila
March 15, 2020
3rd Sunday of Lent
Read the Official Announcement HERE: