By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News
Celebration of Mass and other prayers continue to be live-streamed online in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon given the restriction on gatherings – including public worship – in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bishop Mark Hagemoen has been celebrating Eucharist at 9 a.m. Sundays from the Queen of Peace Chapel at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, with the Mass live-streamed on the diocesan website at rcdos.ca and on a new website of live-streamed and recorded Masses in the diocese: saskatoonmass.com.
At the conclusion of the Mass on the Fifth Sunday of Lent March 29, the bishop announced that as measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 continue, the coming Holy Week and Easter Triduum celebrations will face the same limitations on gatherings.
“I will be communicating to our diocese how we are covering the Holy Week and Easter Triduum — probably through video Masses as we have been doing,” he said at the conclusion of the March 29 celebration.
UPDATE on March 31, 2020: Bishop Hagemoen announces Holy Week and Easter Triduum directives
“May we continue to persevere in faith in prayer and in charity and almsgiving and service to others as we reflect on how we are called to make ready to celebrate the anniversary of the Saviour’s passion, dying, and rising at Easter.”
Bishop Hagemoen also expressed his appreciation for the opportunity for the faithful to share in prayer and spiritual communion, aided by videos of Mass at this difficult and unprecedented time of a worldwide pandemic.
“I am greatly encouraged by many of our parish communities that have the ability … to be able to live stream and record Masses and Stations of the Cross and other opportunities. It helps those communities that may not have that available, and we as a diocese can join together. In some mysterious way, the circumstances that we face is an opportunity for us to connect more broadly as a diocese.”
During the March 29 broadcast on what is annually known as Solidarity Sunday, the bishop also highlighted the Development and Peace / Caritas Canada fund-raising efforts, noting that a traditional Share Lent collection in parishes obviously cannot take place this year. Instead, the bishop encouraged the faithful to make a donation online to Share Lent at: devp.org/give.
“The extraordinary times we face means that our parishes are not in a position to support themselves as they have, and they still have expenses,” the bishop added, noting the initiative of parishes and the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation to facilitate an online Parish Offering, which can be found at: dscf.ca/parish-offertory
In addition to live-streaming of Mass, parishes have also been broadcasting other prayers and devotions, such as the Stations of the Cross (including 7 p.m. Fridays with the bishop), the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and the Rosary. Audio files of homilies are also available at saskatoonmass.com.
Priests at various parishes are finding creative ways to provide the Sacrament of Reconciliation with the required two-metres of physical distancing, including a “parking lot” opportunity provided at one parish, and home visits for confession on the door step by another pastor. Many parishes are sharing prayer resources online and others have undertaken “phoning trees” to connect with parishioners during the COVID-19 shutdown.
Other faith resources are also being promoted, including such things as a parish subscription to “Formed” — a Catholic video channel. (Complimentary access to “Formed” is available for the next 40-days, accessible by any parishes within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon that do not currently have a “Formed” subscription: https://formed.org/signup — enter the words “Faith At Home Saskatoon”.)
Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools has also shared its link to the Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ religious education program at: LINK (the username is: GIFGIC_student99 password is: Student99)
The diocese of Saskatoon has posted reflections on the Sunday readings for family sharing and discussion, available at: LINK
As well, St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission in Bruno, SK is sharing online faith resources that include:
- The “Lord’s Day Celebration” — Sabbath mealtime prayers which include a reflection on the Sunday Gospel — the booklet can be downloaded and printed on the website (which includes a video intro) at: LINK
- Gospel Reflection by Nick Pierlot: LINK
- The noon-hour Angelus as a family meal prayer: LINK