Bishop Richard Pates, the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Joliet, has issued a decree removing the obligation of the faithful to receive Holy Communion this Easter season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, he urges Catholics to offer an Act of Spiritual Communion and a Perfect Act of Contrition.
The extraordinary decree resulted from a recognition that the current global pandemic, state shutdown, and suspension of public Mass has made it impossible for Catholics to receive Holy Communion during the Easter season, which is normally a vital obligation.
“These are very unique times that have required a unique response from the Church,” said Father Dindo Billote, pastor of St. Mary Mokena. “I would like to echo the Bishop in encouraging everyone to pray a Perfect Act of Contrition and recite a Spiritual Act of Communion while watching our live Easter Mass on their device.”
Act of Spiritual Communion
An Act of Spiritual Communion is a way to unite oneself to the Eucharist spiritually when one cannot receive it physically. For example, when watching a live-stream of the Mass, the viewer can recite the Act during 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.
Perfect Act of Contrition
A Perfect Act of Contrition is a way for Catholics to be forgiven of their sins if they are sorry out of pure love for God and normal confession is impossible. This is applicable today since most churches have suspended confessions due to the pandemic.
The caveats for receiving forgiveness under these circumstances are that the person genuinely is sorry for having offended God and wants to be reunited with Him out of pure love (not out of a fear of punishment). Furthermore, the person promises to go to confession as soon as it’s possible to do so.
For the latest information on the Diocese of Joliet’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, please visit https://www.dioceseofjoliet.org/