Our regular communal celebration of liturgies is suspended until further notice, and many people are practicing social distancing or self-isolation to avoid transmission of the COVID-19 virus, or are in quarantine. For those with access to computers or mobile devices and with Internet connection, online resources and communication tools can be a way to stay in touch, with the Church, with their faith, and with each other.
Check out some of the online resources on our Links page, which includes Ukrainian Catholic news feeds, and these sites:
Resources for Great Lent
From the Edmonton Eparchy: suggestions for ways to observe Lent and prepare spiritually for Easter.
English-language resources for Ukrainian Catholics, including daily readings and prayers, online UGCC catechism, articles, etc.
Family-focused resources, including catechism for children, marriage enrichment programmes, and more.
Streaming video content, including Catholic movies, TV shows, Bible study, and much more.
Live-streaming of Divine Liturgy or Roman Catholic Mass is available through a number of online and television options:
Father Yuriy will be live-streaming celebration of Divine Liturgy at St Nicholas the Wonderworker church in Victoria at 10AM on Sundays. Initially, this will be via their parish FaceBook page, but we'll also be embedding the video feed through this website so that those who choose not to be on FaceBook can participate.
Holy Eucharist Cathedral in New Westminster will also be live-streaming Divine Liturgy, following their usual service schedule.
A number of parishes in the Eparchy of Edmonton are live-streaming liturgies, including St Josephat Cathedral.
Salt + Light Media have daily live-streaming of Roman Catholic Mass, including broadcast of the Papal Mass celebrated each day by Pope Francis. Salt + Light TV is also available via cable television; check your cable provider for channel information.
Remember that we participate in the Divine Liturgy through active prayer and reflection on the words of scripture and contemplating the great mystery of the Eucharist. We are not spectators, but full participants. Extra effort may be needed to keep this sense of participation when engaging with the Liturgy via video, a medium that we mostly passively consume as spectators. Make the responses you would normally make in church. Follow along with the physical actions of the celebration, crossing yourself and, as physically able and appropriate, bowing or prostrating. As Father Yuriy advises: ‘As you participate in this Sunday celebration, try not to use it as background noise while you go about your daily routine. Instead, light a candle, have icons present and make your home a “little Church” according to St John Chrysostom. By bringing our experience of the Church into the home, we more fully recognise and appreciate what it means to be the Church when we gather during the Liturgy.’
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Emotional isolation and loneliness will doubtless be a strain for many people staying at home and lacking their usual social contacts and routines, especially as the COVID-19 response continues for as long as it will likely be in order to suppress outbreaks. There are many social media opportunities available to connect with communities of other Catholics — including a Reddit community for Eastern Catholics —, and also tools to help stay in touch with family and friends via video chat. Jitsi Meet offers free online video chat, is easy to use, and does not require an account, as well as offering excellent privacy and security.