PROVIDENCE — As a sign of faith, unity and hope in these uncertain times, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has asked all Catholic churches across the diocese to ring their bells for five minutes every Sunday morning until the novel coronavirus pandemic is over.
“This symbolic gesture will speak to our whole community of the presence of God, will help to unite the Diocese spiritually, and will signal hope for our people, reminding them that their churches are still there, eager to welcome them home in the very near future,” said Bishop Tobin.
The churches will ring their bells for five minutes beginning at 9 a.m. on Sunday, March 29.
Although public access to Mass has been restricted across the diocese, beginning with the weekend of March 21-22, to protect the health of all who participate, there are ways that the faithful may continue to worship from the safety of their homes.
Boston’s Catholic TV features daily online Mass during the pandemic, while Eternal Word Television Network and the Diocese of Fall River also feature televised Masses.
Locally, many parishes across the diocese offer live-streamed and pre-recorded Masses on the internet that a pastor may continue to offer in the absence of their congregation. These Masses may be found at https://www.dioceseofprovidence.org/news/fyi-television-masses.
Continuing to participate in the Mass in these ways, when current circumstances prevent one from doing so, is one way the faithful may continue to worship God from home. The faithful are also encouraged to make a “Spiritual Communion.” To learn more about how to make a Spiritual Communion, please visit https://www.dioceseofprovidence.org/news/how-to-make-a-spiritual-communion.
As St. John Paul II wrote in his encyclical letter “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” “It is good to cultivate in our hearts a constant desire for the sacrament of the Eucharist.”
In addition to making an act of spiritual communion, there are other ways we can continue to worship the Lord during these times, adopting a routine such as:
• Gathering with others in your household and begin a time of prayer with the sign of the cross.
• Taking time to read and reflect upon the readings from Sunday Mass. The readings are available at usccb.org and a Sunday Gospel reflection can be found at the same website or during Lent at dioceseofprovidence.org.
• Sharing prayer intentions quietly or aloud.
• Praying the Lord’s Prayer.
• Closing with the sign of the cross.