Etiquette for the participation of online celebration of the Eucharist
The corona virus has confined us to our homes and for the first time in living memory most of the faithful in the Archdiocese of Bombay will be fulfilling their Sunday obligation via an online medium. In this context I would like to offer a few suggestions that could serve as etiquette for the participation of such services.
- DECIDE WHAT TIME YOU WISH TO PARTICIPATE IN SUCH AN ONLINE MASS AS A FAMILY – This you need to do in advance. I suggest that you stick to the time you usually go to Mass as a family. If for any reason you have not been able to go to mass as a family, this will be a great opportunity to begin again; now that you are confined to four walls. You could also join together as a family to watch a previously recorded Eucharistic celebration.
- TIDY UP THE SPACE YOU PLAN TO USE. – This is not a football match, it’s a Eucharistic service and even for the world cup finals we create an ambiance in the house appropriate to such an event. Tidy the place and set up a small table upon which a white cloth could be draped. You could then place a crucifix, the family Bible and two candles on this table.
- PREPARE YOUR SELF SPIRITUALLY – Go through the readings of the day which you will find on any website or on the many Church calendars that are gifted by parishes to each family in the month of January.
- TAKE A SHOWER AND REFRESH YOUR SELF – Ritual ablutions are common in many faiths and while we don’t have a norm for Catholics, in these circumstances a shower simply refreshes and gives purpose to the next activity; in this case the Eucharist.
- GET INTO SOMETHING LESS CASUAL – Sure we watch television in our PJ’s but this is not a chick flick we are settling down to. The Eucharist calls for respect and our attire says it all. Imagine if we pulled out our Sunday best and just settled to celebrate the Eucharist in our homes; it would truly tell the Lord how much we revere Him.
- MAKE SURE YOU WONT BE DISTURBED – You don’t want to be receiving a breakfast parcel from Zomato during you mass at home. Simply put a note on the door that you don’t want to be disturbed for an hour. You also need to remember to switch off your devices before mass as you would do in Church.
- PICK A FEW HYMNS WHICH YOU CAN PLAY ON YOUR STEREO – If you are watching an online mass and considering the circumstances, you may not have a choir to lead you in prayer. Pick a few of your favourite hymns that you save to your playlist. If the mass is pre-recorded you can pause the on line celebration and play an appropriate hymn and get everyone to join in.
- LEAVE MOMENTS FOR SILENCE – An online pre-recorded mass will afford you the luxury of hitting the pause button when every you want some silence especially at appropriate moments such as after the Word of God is read and after communion.
These are just a few suggestions as we navigate our way through the days to come. Remember that when resources are limited, creativity abounds. Use this time to pray together.
Fr Warner D’souza
Author of the PottyPadre blog