Attending Mass in person is no longer possible. As we move into the holiest days of the Christian year, how can we worship — not just watch — the Mass together?

Here are five suggestions, especially if your local parish is not livestreaming liturgies on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday:

 

1. East Coast: The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

This grand basilica on the campus of Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., vies with St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City to be America’s Catholic Church. For me, just seeing the space brings back happy memories of gathering with 3,500 of my fellow Catholics to hear the soaring music of “The Mass of the Americas” in a Solemn High Pontifical Mass.

What you will experience: the striking cathedral-like space, a solemn procession, a small but exquisite choir, and sometimes a papal nuncio as the celebrant or presider. You can join the worship on their website at these times:

Holy Thursday

  • Mass of the Lord’s Supper — 5:30 p.m. ET

Good Friday

  • Service of the Lord’s Passion – 2:30 p.m. ET

Holy Saturday

  • Saturday, April 11, at 8 p.m. ET

Easter Sunday

  • Easter Sunday Solemn Mass – 12:00 Noon ET
  • Easter Sunday Spanish Mass – 2:30 p.m. ET.

 

2. Midwest: St. John Cantius Church in Chicago

This is simply the loveliest Mass I’ve been able to find online. The church is a magnificent tribute to the power of evangelizing through sacred beauty, the sound quality of the livestream is high, and the choir in the ordinary form soars. How do they do it? The website states: “In this time of social distancing, all priests and servers in the broadcast are members of a religious community that live together as a family. Any other musicians singing for the liturgies are doing so in a separate location.” Watch the livestreams here: https://www.cantius.org/go/news/detail/live_stream_of_masses/.

St. John Cantius schedule of liturgies:

Holy Thursday

  • 8 a.m. - Simple Tenebrae Service
  • 7 p.m. - Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Ordinary Form - Latin)
  • 8:30 p.m. - Stripping and Washing of the Altar

Good Friday

  • 8 a.m. - Simple Tenebrae Service
  • 3 p.m. - Service of the Lord's Passion (Ordinary Form - Latin)
  • 4:30 p.m. - Sung Divine Mercy Chaplet and Novena

Holy Saturday

  • 8 a.m. - Simple Tenebrae Service
  • 10 p.m. - The Great Paschal Vigil (Ordinary Form - Latin and English)

Easter Sunday

  • 7:30 a.m. - Tridentine Low Mass (Latin)
  • 8:45 a.m. - Eucharistic Procession from the Tomb and Benediction
  • 9 a.m. - English Mass (Ordinary Form)
  • 11 a.m. - Latin Mass (Ordinary Form)
  • 12:30 p.m. - Solemn Tridentine High Mass (Latin)

 

3. West Coast: Worship with Archbishop Cordileone

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s moving homilies have been the highlight for me of this Lenten season. The Cathedral of St. Mary’s of the Assumption in San Francisco offers a beautiful simple reverent service with appropriate minimalist but beautiful traditional music The Archdiocesan website is also unusual in listing many parishes in the archdiocese that are livestreaming services (including Latin Mass at Star of the Sea). Join him at https://sfarchdiocese.org/livestreams.

Holy Thursday

  • Chrism Mass 10 a.m. (Archbishop Cordileone)
  • Mass of the Lord's Supper 7:30 p.m. (Archbishop Cordileone)

Good Friday

  • Good Friday Liturgy 3 p.m. (Archbishop presiding; Fr. Albano, homilist)
  • Stations of the Cross 7 p.m. (Fr. Albano)

Holy Saturday

  • Great Vigil of Easter 9 p.m. (Archbishop Cordileone)

Easter Sunday

  • 11 a.m. (Archbishop Cordileone)

 

4. Experience the Eastern Rite Catholic Divine Worship

Eastern-rite Catholics have a very intense set of liturgies throughout Holy Week. A wonderful new website LiveLiturgy.com has been set up to direct worshippers to Divine Liturgies across America, including Byzantine Catholic, Italo-Greek Byzantine Catholic, Maronite Catholic, Melkite Greek Catholic, Romanian Greek Catholic, Syro-Malabar Catholic and Ukrainian Greek Catholic churches in North America. Catholic means universal, indeed!

 

5. Night Owl or Early Bird Opportunity: Veneration of Christ’s Crown of Thorns at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

One year after the relic of Christ’s crown of thorns was snatched from the terrible fire that gutted the great cathedral of Notre Dame, Archbishop Michel Aupetit will conduct a Good Friday prayer service before the relic containing the crown of thorns.

Archbishop Aupetit will lead a meditation on the passion of Christ inside the cathedral in the apse behind Notre-Dame’s Pietà. He will be joined by Msgr. Patrick Chauvet, rector of Notre-Dame, and Auxiliary Bishop Denis Jachiet.

French actors Philippe Torreton and Judith Chemla will read texts by Charles Péguy, Paul Claudel and St. Teresa of Calcutta, while violinist Renaud Capuçon will provide musical accompaniment.

Pilgrims’ accounts from the Holy Land told of public veneration of the crown of thorns dating from the fourth century. In the Middle Ages the crown of thorns and other relics of the Cross were transferred to Constantinople for safekeeping.

In 1238, the cash-strapped Byzantine emperor sold the crown of thorns to King Louis IX, the future St. Louis. The king stripped himself noble robes, donned a simple tunic and carried the relic to Notre Dame Cathedral. The Crown of Thorns continues to be brought out for veneration once a year, as the good St. Louis commanded, at Easter.

Join a venerable and ancient tradition this Good Friday at 11:30 a.m. Paris Time, 5:30 a.m. Eastern or 2:30 a.m. Pacific, at https://www.bfmtv.com/mediaplayer/live-video/.

 

Maggie Gallagher is the Executive Director of the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship.