The last time we had Mass at my church was on March 8. Honestly, it feels even longer than that since we’ve been able to attend. While I’m trying to stay on the hopeful side of things (relying a LOT on God right now and His comfort), I’m a planner. That’s why I started looking for some free spiritual resources to use at home.
It helps me to plan ahead. I feel a sense of control, I suppose and it helps me to feel like I can put my worry aside because I’m ready for what comes. Of course, right now I want more time at church, not less, because it brings me comfort. You might be feeling the same way.
Free Spiritual Resources to Use at Home
Obviously, it’s not safe to have Mass in person right now. Still, I need the hope and joy of Mass now, more than ever. These are the next best thing:
Note – I obviously can’t cover all religious services here. I’ve added Catholic Masses because I’m Catholic and a few non-Catholic (non-denominational Christian) churches that I know of personally and really like. You should be able to Google and find ones for your faith and denomination. If you know of any that you like, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them here.
ONLINE MASSES AND CHURCH SERVICES
St. George’s Catholic Church in London, Ontario – new Masses at 5 pm Eastern on Saturdays and 11 am on Sundays but you can watch anytime on Youtube
EWTN Mass is at 8am and 12pm Sundays EST
Mass at Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame at 10am Eastern every Sunday – you can also watch previous Masses there
Pope Francis has been saying Mass throughout the pandemic and these have been streamed live and are available for viewing later. He has even given an Urbi et Orbi blessing at some of these.
Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC – they held Mass at noon March 15th which is now available to watch and they have said that if this situation continues, they will keep offering an online Mass option.
Daily TV Mass from Loretto Abbey Chapel – taped each week on Tuesday/ Wednesday/ Thursday at 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm at the Loretto Abbey Chapel in Toronto. They normally allow visitors but are closed to the public at this time.
Midtowne Church (a non-denominational Christian church in Benton, Arkansas) records their church services so you can listen to them. Even though they’re not Catholic, I always find them very informative and uplifting.
New Song Church – They have an online service every Sunday at 12:30 pm Eastern. The pastors are friends of mine and they are always incredibly uplifting and inspiring. I always learn something new and come away with a different perspective on things.
Daily devotions are a fantastic way to spend some quiet time with God. I love that they give me a focus and help me get started in my quiet time. This helps even when I’m unsure of where to head on my own.
My personal favorites are from Girlfriends in God. You can go to their site and read them or have them delivered right to your email. They even have a free app so you can take them on the go with you anywhere.
ONLINE BIBLE STUDIES
I’ve been taking part in online Bible studies off and on for quite some time now. Because they’re free, I’m able to browse through a few of them. Then I can choose the one that really speaks to me at that moment.
Most of them offer current studies as well where women all over the world are working through the Bible study together at that particular time. This usually means a place to ask questions and participate in discussions. Sometimes they even present a chance to join small groups for support and encouragement.
You could also get a few friends together and have an online Bible study of your own.
These are the ones I’ve enjoyed the most:
Prayer Apps and Resources
Magnificat is new to me: “During this challenging time, many of the faithful may be unable to attend Mass. Magnificat is honored to provide complimentary access to our online version to help people pray from home”.
3 Minute Retreat – is exactly what it sounds like. It’s from the Jesuits and it provides beautiful imagery and music along with readings (Bible verses reflections, and then questions to spark your own reflection) that will take no more than 3 minutes to read.
Obviously, you can take more time if you have more, but this is an excellent addition to even the busiest of days. Sacred Space is similar but with a slightly different format. Try them both and see which you prefer. I jump around as the mood strikes me.
Pray as You Go is an app that is designed to be easily used by people on the go. Again, it is comprised of music, Bible reading, and reflections. In this case, you don’t have to do the reading yourself.
There is someone speaking to you. I find Pray as You Go perfect then for times when I’m doing something fairly mindless, like housework or yoga. Each session lasts about 12-15 minutes.
Scriptural Rosary has audio recordings for each day so that you can follow along and say your Rosary with it.
Universalis provides prayers for the liturgy of the hours.
Resources for Kids
Holy Heroes has free Mass prep coloring pages available. You can print these off for the kids before watching an online Mass at home.
Catholic Mom has Mass worksheets, coloring pages, lesson plans, and more. Check out her Mass resources here.
At My Catholic Kids, you can get free access to their video library during this international emergency.
Teens can join in on a live Catholic youth group every Sunday from 8-9 Eastern starting on March 22nd.
Each broadcast is an hour long and includes games, music, and a teaching from one of the top Catholic youth ministry speakers in the country. Teens will be able to watch the live stream from any device and chat live during the event with other young people from across the country!
Walk a prayer labyrinth.
Do you have a labyrinth in your town? You may not even know that you do as sometimes I find that they are kept very low-key. We actually have 5 here in London, not including portable ones that are used by schools and churches in the area from time to time. If you are able to walk it while maintaining physical distancing (and if they’re currently open according to your city’s pandemic rules), this can be a great option.
The Labyrinth Locator website can help you find one near you.
Walking a labyrinth is a form of meditative type prayer. What I like about it is that I get some movement, fresh air, and something that gives me a bit of focus for my prayers. As you walk the winding path of the labyrinth, you can take part in prayer with your whole body.
You might not currently be able to leave your home, but if you can, it’s definitely possible to practice social distancing while walking a prayer labyrinth. I find so few people know about them that anytime I go, I have it to myself!
Can’t leave home? If you can’t make it to a labyrinth, you can make or buy a finger labyrinth for a smaller, handheld version.
Make Your Own Prayer Flags
Tibetan prayer flags are meant to be hung up high where the wind can catch the flags and carry our prayers with it across the earth. You can buy traditional prayer flags online, but why not make some of your own? You could use fabric (I tore up old bed sheets I was going to throw away) and paint on them. Or grab some construction paper and crayons and make some with the kids.
I’ve started making my own prayer flags to represent my specific requests and religious beliefs. What’s wonderful about them is that creating them is a prayer in itself. Then, every time I see them hanging outside my home, I am reminded of those prayers.
If you’re not currently allowed to leave your home, hang them in your windows. Seeing, remembering, and affirming those prayers once again is in itself another simple prayer. They may also be a beacon of hope to anyone who passes by.
Need some help with prayer? Here are some simply ways to invigorate your prayer life.