Considering recent pronouncements from Bishops around the world regarding the coronavirus and the canceling of public Mass, there is understandable confusion and worry regarding the obligations of the faithful.
The obligation to keep the Sabbath holy is Divine Law and cannot be dispensed. Attending Sunday Mass is the best way to keep the Sabbath holy, but is Ecclesiastical Law, and thus can be dispensed.
Therefore, if public Mass is unavailable to you because it has been suspended by the Bishop, or because of illness or another valid reason, your conscience should be assuaged.
However, we strongly encourage you to make a Spiritual Communion, in particular on Sunday, so that you may continue to keep the Sabbath holy. Spiritual Communion is a practice undertaken by many saints through the ages, including Catherine of Siena, Padre Pio and Josemaria Escriva. A prayer is offered below for this purpose.
Especially during this season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, let us remember to lift up our sufferings to God, asking for his mercy and for a swift resolution to this crisis.
In the coming days we will release a video and more resources to help you keep the Sabbath spiritually during these difficult times.
Know that the friars of the Western Dominican Province join with you in solidarity and prayer.
Prayer for Spiritual Communion
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.