Some prayerful thoughts about how to maintain our Catholic spirituality in this time without the Eucharist

Faith & Spirit

Some prayerful thoughts about how to maintain our Catholic spirituality in this time without the Eucharist

Dear Bishop Kelly Community,

With Bishop Peter’s directive of this week, asking for all public Masses to be suspended as of this coming Saturday and Sunday (March 21 and 22), we enter an even more challenging time for our lives of faith in Jesus Christ.  Not only are we attempting to protect our physical health, but we are now trying to maintain our spiritual health without the most powerful aid possible for both — the Most Holy Eucharist. For me, this means that our current struggle is NOT merely physical; it is also with what St. Paul refers to as “principalities and powers” (Eph. 6:12), the dark and threatening forces wishing to destroy our faith and compromise our very souls.  To engage this battle without the Holy Eucharist, the “source and summit” of our Catholic lives, is a grave and deep danger. We certainly pray for our Diocesan Shepherd, Bishop Peter Christensen, as he had to make this almost-unthinkable decision.

So for us, this must only mean a renewed commitment to the elements of our Catholic lives that we CAN still participate in!  To that end, I have a number of what I hope are practical suggestions for the students and families of Bishop Kelly. These are spiritual practices which, even though they are not attending Mass and receiving Holy Eucharist, are meant to encourage and sustain our Catholic faith in this trying time:

  1. Stoke your hunger for Jesus in the Eucharist!  Lean INTO (not away from!) the feeling of lacking Communion in your body and spirit.  Do whatever you can to feel the hunger for Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, so that when this present darkness passes, you will receive Him again with your heart literally bursting with gratitude.
  2. Stay “Catholic” by making what is traditionally known as a “Spiritual Communion” each and every day.  You do this by reading, reflecting and praying on the prayers and readings for Mass each day, knowing that the entire Catholic world is praying with these SAME prayers and readings.  If you don’t have a resource for this, point your browser to, where they are offering the daily Mass prayers and readings free of charge during the outbreak. “Catholic” literally means “universal,” and so what a great blessing it would be to the whole world to wrap it in the Catholic Church right now!
  3. Bishop Peter has asked that, in this time without public Masses, we each renew our commitment to saying a rosary each day.  Doing this, of course, engages our relationship with our Blessed Mother, who is the most powerful intercessor we have. What a beautiful response to the present darkness for families to gather for a daily rosary!
  4. Do some internet research on the lives of some of the Saints who lived and ministered during other times of plague or contagion.  Their experiences, and their strong faith in the love and power of God, could really be a consolation for you at this time. I can particularly recommend Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, and Saint Damian of Molokai.  Even though their lives ended, their faith never faltered!
  5. Keep watch for possible “virtual” Mass and Eucharistic procession around the school during its vacancy.  Plans are in the works right now for how to get these out online, so watch for news!
  6. Finally, keep in touch with BK and with one another!  Our strong community is one of the greatest blessings we have, and that does not end just because we cannot be in each other’s physical presence!  I want to issue a particular challenge to the Senior Class, to network through text and social media with ideas about how you can still be leaders, ESPECIALLY leaders in faith, of this school during this time!


To the families of our BK community who worship in other traditions and denominations, 

I have a special message of prayer and welcome.  Just as you are always welcome to participate as fully as you are able in our Catholic Masses and traditions when we are physically together at school, so too in this time of isolation and “social distancing” you are very welcome to participate in the above suggestions, if they are helpful.  If you find the consolation of God in any of what I have suggested, wonderful! If you find the consolation of God in the practices of your own religious and theological traditions, wonderful! My goal is the spiritual uniting of this community precisely in a time of fragmentation and isolation.   Please know that we are all, in some great mysterious and unseeable ways, bonded together by this challenging time, but also by our prayerful and strong community of Bishop Kelly. 

This present darkness will pass.  The challenge is to NOT give up, to NOT give in, and to NOT let the fear of the darkness overwhelm us and have dominion over us.  I want this wonderful BK community to know that, when I am saying Mass alone, you will be with me in the beautiful and mystical ways that our faith promises.  I will offer the Sacrifice of the Most Holy Eucharist for your intentions, for your health, and for your consolation! What a great blessing it has been this year for me to enter this community and serve it as Priest and teacher.  I humbly ask for your prayers for me and for my brother Priests and Deacons, as we continue to minister without the centerpiece of our work, the public celebration of the Mass.

May the Lord bless you and keep you,

May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you,

May the Lord look upon you with favor, and grant you peace.



Rev. Gregory D. Vance, S.J.

Bishop Kelly Chaplain