Worshipping from home

Worshipping from home

by Theresa Robinson, MDiv, Campus Minister, St. Joseph’s College

Wondering how to worship from home? Changes as a result of the need for social isolation during the COVID pandemic have effected how we worship and pray. Our faith and church communities are one of the supporting factors which help us to cope with difficult times, but we are not able to gather as normal at this time. So now, more than ever, it is important that we engage with our faith and seek out ways to worship that are creative and life giving.

Psychologists have identified that routine can be an important factor in reducing stress. So having a regular routine can be an important part of your worship and prayer during this time. Our family has established a lunch time rosary. 15 minutes before lunch we sit down and pray a rosary together. I was shocked that the kids could handle sitting still for 15 minutes and it gave mom some quiet at a busy time in the day. This centres our routine around faith and also is a beautiful "pause" and quiet that punctuates the day. Another routine we have established is Sunday worship and evening prayer as a family.

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Nature can also be a calming factor. COVID has given all of us a new appreciation for simple things like going for a walk. Try incorporating worship into your daily walks. Some ideas for this would be a chaplet of divine mercy or rosary walk. Another prayerful activity is a Jesus prayer walk or a meditative walk. The Jesus prayer or breath prayer is the practice of reciting a simple prayer with every breath. For example, mentally saying "Jesus, Son of God" with your inhale and "have mercy on me a sinner" with your exhale. Doing this simple prayer while walking, or simply taking in God’s creation with gratitude, is a beautiful way of praying.

Social isolation is also a great time to try new forms of prayer or ones that have been put on the back burner. Maybe dust off that guitar or keyboard and search for some worship songs online. Try lectio divina or read a daily devotional online. Pick up journalling if this is something you enjoy. Ending the day with an examen is also a really great routine to be in. There are many practices out there to explore.

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There are also really great resources available online, like apps that lead you through the Bible in a year or formed.org, which has so many formation resources and videos to check out. One app that has been a huge blessing to me is Pray as You Go, which gives you 10 minutes of meditation, scripture, music and reflection.

It is really important to maintain community and connect to liturgy even during this time. Below are some options for online masses you can participate in. Sometimes it’s fun to try different masses. I have really enjoyed the diversity in preaching during this time by connecting to different Sunday liturgies. It is also lovely having the familiarity of worshiping spaces that we recognize, like St Joseph’s Basilica or other local churches.

Reaching out to friends who you share faith with, talking about how you’re doing, praying together or asking them how you can pray for them are also important ways of living our faith during this time.

Remember that we aren't a community or a church because of our building; we are a church because we are the body of Christ. One of our male residents, when making announcements after mass, would often begin his announcement by saying "Hello church"; let’s remember that this doesn't change with our current reality. We are still church, whether we gather in a building or in spirit.

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Finally, many of you are at home right now with your parents and siblings. Remember during this time that the family is the domestic church. In one of his addresses, Pope Francis reminds us of this reality. "Families are the domestic Church, where Jesus grows; he grows in the love of spouses, he grows in the lives of children... May the Lord bless families and strengthen them in this time of crisis."

Mass options:

Other online resources: