May 31, 2020

Vatican Authorizes Special Mass for Coronavirus Pandemic

ROME—On March 30, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments approved a “Mass in the Time of Pandemic,” a votive Mass in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service reported in an April 1 article at Crux that the Mass was approved “to plead for God’s mercy and strength in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.”

A votive Mass, as the Catholic News Agency noted in its April 1 report on the newly approved Mass, “is a Mass differing from the one prescribed for the day and celebrated for a special intention.”

“The Mass opens with a prayer that God would ‘look with compassion on the afflicted, grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to health care workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love,’” Wooden writes.

Quoted in Wooden’s article, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the congregation and Archbishop Arthur Roche, congregation secretary, stated in a March 30 letter, “In these days, during which the whole world has been gravely stricken by the COVID-19 virus,” many bishops and priests have asked “to be able to celebrate a specific Mass to implore God to bring an end to this pandemic.”

Wooden writes, “The ‘Mass in the Time of Pandemic,’ the congregation said, can be celebrated on any day ‘except solemnities; the Sundays of Advent, Lent and Easter (season); days within the Octave of Easter; the commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day); Ash Wednesday; and the days of Holy Week.’”

The article also quoted other prayers of the new votive Mass, including the offertory prayer: “Accept, O Lord, the gifts we offer in this time of peril. May they become for us, by your power, a source of healing and peace. Through Christ our Lord.”

According to Wooden’s report, suggested Gospel readings to be used during this Mass include Mark 4:35-41, “the story of the disciples in the boat on the stormy Sea of Galilee; it is the same reading Pope Francis used March 27 for his special prayer service and blessing ‘urbi et orbi’ (to the city and the world), begging God to end the pandemic.”

Wooden writes that the closing prayer of the Mass ends with a “prayer over the people”—“O God, protector of all who hope in you, bless your people, keep them safe, defend them, prepare them, that, free from sin and safe from the enemy, they may persevere always in your love. Through Christ our Lord.”

The Editors