I Cried When Mass was Cancelled

Masses are being cancelled.

Catholics are suddenly unable to receive the Eucharist – and in certain places, even Confession.

It comes as a hard blow.

When I mention how sad this makes me on social media, many people respond by trying to “put it in perspective.”

They expound on the fact that the cancellation will save lives.

They bring up the point that many Catholics throughout history – and even today – have been unable to attend Mass regularly or receive the Eucharist for great lengths of time.

They brush it off by saying: just watch Mass online.

I understand all that. I understand that the bishops are trying their best to make prudent decisions for their flock. I understand that we must accept and be obedient to their guidance.

But we just lost the Sacraments.

It’s okay to feel sorrow.

It’s okay to cry at the loss of Holy Communion, Eucharistic Adoration, Reconciliation.

The Eucharist is the center of Catholic life. It’s the source and summit of our faith.

To go without it is no trivial matter.

If you find yourself in tears, don’t let others tell you it’s wrong to sorrow. Don’t feel guilty because others are trying to minimize your pain.

It’s alright to grieve such a big loss. It’s natural to mourn. It’s okay to allow yourself to enter into the sadness welling up in your heart.

A life without the Eucharist has a gaping hole in it.

And that hole is going to hurt.

As time stretches on, and we don’t know how long it will be before we’re allowed to go to Mass and Confession again, our yearning will expand – or it will wane.

We will grow passionate in our desire, or we will grow tepid in our indifference.

This pandemic may be a turning point in our lives.

When the Eucharist is denied us, we may begin to see just how precious it is to us. We may realize just how centrally our lives revolve around it. How it strengthens and upholds us.

Let us feel its loss deeply.

Let us look forward to the day when we may receive him again.

Matthew 9:15 says: “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

The bridegroom is taken from us this Lent.

It is time to fast.

We are in the desert. We hunger for him.

Let that hunger grow. Let us renew our Lenten fasts. Let the holes in our temporal lives reflect the hole in our spiritual lives.

And as those holes continue to grow, invite the Holy Spirit into the chasm. Let him lead us, guide us, change our lives.

Let this be a moment of conversion.

A moment that begins a new stage of life for us.

1. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.

Let the Holy Spirit speak. Spend time sitting and listening to his voice.

What is it he desires of you? How does he wish to satisfy you? How will he transform your life?

2. Consider the void.

Do you deeply feel the loss of Holy Mass?

Maybe he is calling you to never miss Sunday Mass by your own fault again. Maybe he desires you to commit yourself to daily Mass once a week.

Do you feel you may not survive without the Eucharist?

Maybe he is calling you to more frequent reception of the Sacrament. Maybe he invites to you pledge yourself to daily Spiritual Communion.

Are you weighed down by your sins, and do not have access to Confession?

Maybe he is calling you to more frequent reconciliation – monthly, or weekly. Maybe he longs for you to make a daily examination of conscience.

Be honest with yourself about the spiritual voids that are most affecting you right now. Allow yourself to feel that loss with the depths of your soul.

Invite God into the void. Give him permission to change Your life through your current suffering.

Seek what he desires of you. He will show you if you ask him.

3. Make resolutions.

Let God change your heart. Let him change your life.

Make the resolutions he inspires within you. Look forward with hope to the day when the restrictions on the Sacraments are lifted.

And be prepared, on that day, to begin living the new life he’s calling you to.

When the bridegroom is returned to us, we will feast again with great joy.

And, if we allow it, our lives will be forever changed.

God can bring good out of all things.

I can’t imagine much worse than a life without the Sacraments.

Yet, many live this way for much of their lives.

Where Catholicism is illegal and persecutions are rampant, people go great lengths of time without the Sacraments, and even risk their lives to receive them.

Here, in our cushy American lives, we get to experience a small taste of this loss.

May we allow God to bring about a good as great as the suffering we feel.

May we be more fervent, more faithful Catholics on the other side of this pandemic.

May we be more frequent Communicants.

May we rely more regularly on Confession.

May we remember the centrality and necessity of the Sacraments in our lives.

My friends, don’t let naysayers tell you not to grieve.

Let yourself feel sorrow.

Let yourself cry.

Your hurt at this loss is very real.

The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. Let us attach our hearts more surely to it during our time of separation.

And may we never take the attendance of Mass, the reception of Holy Communion, and the forgiveness of our sins in Reconciliation for granted again.

Cancellation Update:

I am beginning to see extensions on Mass cancellations.

On Tuesday, I saw the first announcement that Masses are being cancelled through Holy Week and Easter in certain dioceses.

On Thursday, an update on social media showed that every diocese in the United States has suspended pubic Masses.

My heart continues to break.

I want to share a few resources with you that may help you draw closer to Christ during these difficult times:

Free Resources:

A Book for Your Holy Week

If you are (or may) without Mass for Holy Week, I have something that may bring you comfort and help you draw close to Jesus during this difficult time.

I wrote this prayer journal, Walking Holy Week with Jesus, several years ago. It’s a daily prayer journal that begins on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, and goes through Easter Sunday.

It has Scripture readings, powerful reflections, prayers, and deep reflection questions for each day of this most Holy Week.

Right now, I feel like God put this project on my heart years ago for this ONE purpose: so that it would be available for you in this time of need.

Please know, I’m not trying to use your loss for my personal gain.

I’m not a doctor, or a policy maker, or a bishop in charge of tough decisions.

I’m just a mom. And a writer.

And sharing my writing is the only way I know how to help.

I pray that these journals help you through this loss, and provide hope until the Sacraments are returned to us.

Journal Options:

The Walking Holy Week with Jesus prayer journal is available in print. But with the pandemic, I also decided to offer a discounted digital version, as well as licensing for parishes to purchase a digital copy to distribute to their parishioners.

Learn more about the Walking Holy Week with Jesus Prayer journal.

34 thoughts on “I Cried When Mass was Cancelled

  1. Sir, your rhetoric is nice. Its going fine but suddenly it breaks my heart when you mention about BUYING YOUR JOURNAL. THE POOREST OF THE POOR CANNOT AFFORD IT. I other words you are after selling, businesswise….

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  2. I also feel the pain of not receiving the Eucharist. But I decided to remember when I last received Jesus and pray that will hold me until we can all receive Our Precious Lord again! Continuous prayers!

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  3. I am sad that I am unable to attend Mass and physically receive the Eucharist, but I attended Mass via live stream this past Sunday morning. Before Mass I found a site that helped me make a perfect act of contrition and at Communion time I read the prayers to receive a spiritual communion. I was able to visit a church in the Atlanta Archdiocese online and felt included in the Mass and felt the prayers of the priest and deacon lifting all of us up. Perhaps this is a time for us to quietly grow spiritually in ourselves. God is with us no matter where we are.

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  4. I am sad that I am unable to attend Mass and physically receive the Eucharist, but I attended Mass via live stream this past Sunday morning. Before Mass I found a site that helped me make a perfect act of contrition and at Communion time I read the prayers to receive a spiritual communion. I was able to visit a church in the Atlanta Archdiocese online and felt included in the Mass and felt the prayers of the priest and deacon lifting all of us up. Perhaps this is a time for us to quietly grow spiritually in ourselves. God is with us no matter where we are. I plan to visit a different church in our archdiocese online through this crisis.

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  5. Yes it is a very sad time. And I also cried a bucket load of tears when I had to make the decision to not to go to Mass last week. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make but I knew that it was the only decision I could make. I am way over 60 and I do have health issues. But I did it because I also have allergies which makes me cough and sneeze at times and I did not want anyone to feel uncomfortable thinking I was sick.

    After I made that decision I came across a comment that really struck home to me and has made this decision and all the decisions made in the past two days a lot easier to handle. Don’t get me wrong I still miss the Eucharist and it hurts and will continue to hurt but I take that hurt and offer it as a SACRIFICE to Jesus. If we all choose to do this just think of what all those sacrifices will produce!!!

    The one thing we can allow to do is have a hurt turn to anger, or frustration, or fear, or giving up, or etc. If we do that the devil will have won. Yes the devil does exist and he is overjoyed with all the turmoil this virus is causing. All the hateful words being are yelling at each other. I truly believe if we really pick up our crosses including the one we all carry now (missing the Sacraments) and following after Jesus the world will start to be a better place. I think this is going to end up being an awesome and spiritual Lent for each one of us. We will come to appreciate the Sacraments more, come to care more for our neighbors (near and far), and have a deeper relationship with God. We just have to work to make that happen. We have to bring Christ’s light to this hurting world.

    Stay safe and healthy! Take Christ’s light and love to your family, friends, and the world each day. God bless

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  6. Thank you for sharing your sorrow. I am also very, very sad. I keep thinking how terrible it is that we no longer need communists to shut down our churches; we are doing it ourselves. St. Patrick, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in YOU!

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    • To me, that sounds like courage. You don’t think your pastors and bishops know that? They are the ones responsible for the financial upkeep of our parishes. They have decided for the benefit of our most vulnerable members (read: the majority who are over 60 years of age) to close down temporarily, even if that means financial hardship. This was not only the most responsible decision, but also the most courageous.

      Sara’s perspective is excellent. It’s a sorrow. Please remember your bishops and priests in prayer. Their hearts are also ripped out at this. They feel like fathers without their children. We’re all in this together.

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    • Seriously? I am pretty sure our shepherds are grieving, as we are. It takes great courage to shut down the church that is so loved for the sake of everyone’s safety.

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  7. yes. our local dre and the bishop both said safety was the first priority; no, it’s a priority and I appreciate that they are acting in good faith, and I have no quarrel with the choices made, but Jesus is the priority and losing Him in the Eucharist is excruciating, even if the decisions are needed. a sorrow, a dark night. come Lord Jesus.

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  8. This truly very, very sad. But this is absolutely essential. The Lord gave us intellect and medicine to use them for the greater good and to bring people to salvation. When the medical professionals tell us that we need to stay away from public gatherings over 50 people in order to prevent the pandemic from spiking and putting our most vulnerable people at risk, we must listen. That is the truly pastoral response.

    It is dangerously superstitious to claim that one cannot be sickened at Church. It is spiritually limited to claim that in a moment of crisis we can’t be Church from where we are, in true spiritual communion. The Mass is not going away. Our priests will be offering Mass every day for each of us and for those at the front lines of this crisis. It is our duty to make spiritual communion, to intercede in union with these Masses for our world.

    We have been handed with an unprecedented situation in our modern world. We have capabilities in our society that we have never had before. Our responsibility is to stay home, pray, and sanctify reality from where we are. This will pass, but in the meantime we need to uplift the heroes who are on the front lines.

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  9. It has not come to my archdiocese yet, and I hope it stays that way. I do see the science behind discouraging people from congregating. It just makes sense. It’s difficult to see the grace though. It requires some faith.

    But this deprivation is a beautiful thing. It makes the longing real. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

    But it hurts.

    Unless one feels the hurt, the person is not really smitten.

    One thing I realized though was that receiving the Lord by hand is a matter different altogether. The cardinal encouraged the faithful to start receiving Him by hand, at least while the scare is on. In obedience, I did try to do it twice and was surprised even at myself not being so conscious about it.

    The third time was a dawning.

    Back at the pew, I suddenly realized I had to use the same hand to put the dirty kneeler down. No, that was the end of it.

    Yesterday, I was receiving Him on the tongue, careful to stick it out a bit so that the priest won’t have a hard time feeding me. I got the biggest Jesus cut from the big one the priest used at Consecration.

    How can I keep my heart from singing?

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  10. Lead me on Holy Spirit. Shall I break the civil law and proceed on going house to house to give cheer to people by telling them not to worry for Jesus Christ our Lord will never abandon us. He is our refuge and He alone can help us.

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  11. I live in Maryland and don’t anticipate attending Mass until after Easter. Makes me very sad but we should pray for each other, that the pandemic is short lived. God bless you.

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  12. I have tear just beneath the surface. I do not understand why the Lord would inspire the Bishops to do this. It is a desert and we will have to wander till the Lord directs us out. I am looking towards Easter – the resurrection of Hope.

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  13. Is not our spiritual health more important than our physical?? We are dust and to dust we shall return… didn’t we just hear that on Ash Wednesday? In a crisis now we run from God??? Lock the doors to His house…to me this sounds crazy… doors should now be open longer!! Is not God our Savior?? Why are we staying away from our God??🤔

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  14. May your heart be blest with holy desire as you continue to thirst for Jesus in the Eucharist… that gaping hole in your heart… is the wound of Divine Love… Be blest and through you may more people be blest.

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  15. As A professing Christian, we look to Gods Word during times of confusion. Jesus is our High Priest and Mediator and where 2 or 3 are gather, so is he. That can be at home or a home church. Christians can share the sacraments of the Bread and Wine at home together and at the Hospital for the sick, that are not able to attend a Sunday service as my friends did for a close friend before he died.

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    • We are Catholic Christians; we need a priest for our sacraments. Bread and wine when shared among family and friends is just that – bread and wine. What we long for is not bread and wine, but Christ Himself, fully present in the Holy Eucharist. Only a priest can give us the Eucharist!

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  16. Thank you for your reflection. I was totally expecting this announcement, but I too cried when I heard. I thought our pastor put it very well in an email to the Parish:
    We, the Saint Cecilia Community, the Bishop, Clergy and Laity of the Diocese of Columbus, and many other dioceses throughout the world are experiencing a Passion of our own this year. Perhaps, we may be able to internalize in a new and perhaps even deeper sense the Lord’s Supper and the Passion of the Lord and the meaning of sacrifice.

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    • Wow that letter from your priest hit it right on the head. We all have the choice of either choosing to really experience our own “Passion” during this Lenten season by picking up our crosses daily and offer up not being able to receive the sacraments this Lenten season along with any other crosses we are carry to Jesus or we can complain and says a lot of unchristian like things about others. Don’t get me wrong I still miss the Mass, it still hurts but that is what it means by sacrifice. Think of Jesus carrying His cross we can at least carry a sliver of it with His help. God bless

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  17. No it is not ok. It is not prudent but evil. The Eucharist is the source of all healing. Has He stopped being Almighty? It would make more sense to close the hospitals where people are in fact infected routinely. Excluding the Holy Sacrifice as a means for the faithful to petition God in favor of some half baked quarantine shows a complete lack of faith.

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  18. Maybe this is the work of the evil one to put fear in our hearts rather than faith…be not afraid…bring back the Mass!

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  19. I am a convert to the Catholic Faith. Entered the Church at the Easter Vigil, April 14, 2001. Thanks for sharing this wonderful reflection. My tears continue to flow.

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  20. I can’t imagine not going to mass. I don’t feel Christ would let anyone get s virus at mass. It makes me so sad

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  21. Me too. It just hit our diocese and I am SO sad. I’m also feeling emboldened to up our domestic church life and make more beauty in our home.

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