Duty of stewardship remains when Mass attendance is not an option
The coronavirus pandemic has seriously affected many areas of our daily life. That includes attending weekly Mass on Sundays.
On March 12, Archbishop Hebda dispensed the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. Last night he suspended Masses for the next two weeks.
Parishes face an immediate and growing crisis without the gifts collected as part of the Mass itself. Even so, parishioners can continue at home with stewardship as a spiritual practice and in honoring the Church's precept regarding the duty of support.
This would be a great time (if you haven't done so already) to schedule a recurring gift, preferably online, to support your parish. It can be done using the Internet or the mail. It is a convenient, and consistent, way to support your parish in a time of quarantines and social distance. A monthly gift can even continue when regular Mass attendance returns. It then becomes a way to bolster your parish support, your almsgiving, and what you give in person each Sunday.
The easiest way with Internet access is to set up an automatic payment with your checking account. Just add your parish as a new auto pay recipient. If you have access to the Internet but feel you are not familiar enough, call your bank. They will walk you through a few steps while you are online. They can even see the same screen you see during set-up if you allow it. Note: Banks cannot set up an auto pay account over the phone unless they are assisting you in working with your account while online or using a mobile phone.
The easiest way with mail is using your "Sunday Offering" envelopes. These envelopes cover the Offertory and every designated "second collection" purpose for each Sunday. Insert your gift and mail it in a standard letter-sized envelope.
'Bring the Mass Home'
If we cannot actively participate in the liturgy and sacraments, we can still set aside time every Sunday for reflection on the Mass and Eucharist. Archbishop Hebda encourages those not attending to "find a Mass on TV, the radio or online." He also encourages the faithful to make a Spiritual Communion, when it isn't possible to receive the sacrament. Saints down through the ages have recommended this simple practice. It also would be appropriate to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.
Part of reflection on the Mass and Eucharist can include (scheduled) offerings and almsgiving. These gifts also are acts of worship (2 Corinthians 9:10-15). They express our desire to help those in need and our gratitude to God for his many gifts to us.
Stewardship is a spiritual practice and a way of living. Again, it is also a precept of the Church. The faithful are obliged to "assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability." CCC 2041-3. More specifically, "so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for the works of the apostolate and of charity, and for the decent support of ministers," Code of Canon Law 222 §1.
Please be generous in your support. Please continue to pray for those suffering from the pandemic and for a speedy end to its ravages around the world.