Communion is a special part of every mass, the essential covenant between God and his flock. But when mass becomes difficult to attend, how can we receive communion with any regularity? How can your congregation receive the spiritual support it needs for the challenges of a daily life facing the coronavirus on top of all the rest of their daily battles?
Holding mass outside is one workaround. Another is to bring your congregation on a retreat, settling in a remote area so that you can commune with God while staying safe from viral transmission into your group. In fact, there are many ways to keep up the services that your flock requires, you just need to get a little creative during this time of struggle in order to continue providing the rituals and communion elements that make churchgoers feel the sacrament and dedication that drives them on.
Consider taking a ‘Spiritual Vacation’.
Seeking out places to stay in Corinth, MS, or a two night boat charter for your private group only is a great way to focus on faith while escaping the trials that rise up to meet us in our routines. A spiritual vacation might be just the thing your community needs in order to refocus on what matters most in each of their lives and strive to do better in all that they do. With all the stress and worry going around, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture, or the love of the ones who care for us most. Removing your community from those daily stressors could be the perfect avenue to rewire and talk about these feelings. A spiritual retreat is the perfect way to really tackle the issues that hit closest to home.
Hold mass outdoors.
If your congregation isn’t able to get away, that’s alright. Instead, you could try holding mass outside to mix things up. This is especially popular as a sunrise mass. This tradition began with Protestant churches almost 300 years ago, but congregations across the Christian faith have started participating in the Easter sunrise tradition. Riffing on this to provide a weekly or monthly sunrise service might be just the thing to inspire your congregation’s faith and put a little pep in their step as they carry on with the day ahead. Trading the pew for a lawn chair may seem a bit unorthodox, but it’s quickly becoming a mainstream staple in churches all around the U.S.A.
Gathering right outside your own facilities gives you the freedom to prepare in your home sacristy, ensure the freshness of the grape juice or wine and the communion wafers and complete your own pre-mass checklist in your familiar space. Also, your congregation is able to simply arrive when they might normally be attending, without any extra preplanning regarding motel accommodations or additional travel. Your parishioners may respond to this alternative to the traditional setting best.
Get the necessities for moving your service.
However you choose to celebrate the mass, it’s important to arrange all the requirements ahead of time. If you chose to travel for a retreat you will have limited options, if any, for supplementing service essentials. With an outdoor or local mass service, you could always run back to the ministry, but this will slow down the process considerably and might upset the group gathered around to hear the gospel and your sermon. Make sure to bring plenty of prepackaged communion wafers, communion wine, or even prefilled communion cups in lieu of the common cup typically used.
Mass doesn’t have to maintain its rigid structure in the confines of a building. It can be done in whatever way best serves the needs of your parishioners and yourself as their faith-based leader. Attending to their needs should be top priority.