Sunday mass what if I cannot go not due to illness, can I attend mass online?

Virtual mass, be it TV or online, is not mass. They are provided not to replace actual mass in person, but for those legitimately homebound to benefit from the liturgy and to provide a sense of spiritual communion with the Church. In fact, they are already dispensed from Sunday obligations since they are physically or morally incapable of attending mass in person. What they are lacking is receiving Holy Communion, which can only be provided through someone bringing Communion to them.

For someone who is neither homebound due to illness or incapacity, or out of duty or charity caring for others and so unable to come to Church, (this includes those who live with high-risk persons during times of pandemic,) attending Mass in person on Sunday is non-negotiable. There is really nothing more important than to give due praise and honour to God on the Lord’s Day, the day He rose from the dead, and the day He inaugurated the Church with the sending forth of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

Even for travellers, care must be taken, to make a real effort to plan to locate a local church ahead of time. The key here is to plan ahead and make an effort. Too many people assumed that it will be difficult, or made up the belief that they were excused since they were travelling, so they didn’t even bother to look into it. The truth is, more often than not, a Catholic church is right around the corner, that you could easily locate on your phone GPS app, and that you could have easily wake up earlier and attend Sunday mass and be back when your other fellow travellers were just waking up. It would turn out to be no bother to them and great blessings to you to be faithful this way. And if you have made a real effort and things did not work out, then you could give yourself a liturgy of the Word: go through the same steps of the Mass without the eucharistic liturgy, or watch a virtual mass, make an act of spiritual communion, and know that you have indeed done your best. Of course, you can also choose not to travel on Sundays when Mass cannot be located. It may sound too radical, but I know people today who commit to this practice.

The confusion today is, when covid lock-down first started, both Rome and local dioceses had suspended Sunday obligation and had made virtual mass widely available, people drew their own conclusion that virtual mass could now replace actual Mass in person. This is simply not true. Vatican did not say that at all. The provision was simply a “better-than-nothing”, a temporary, desperate last resort way to provide some sort of spiritual sustenance when the real Bread of Life was no longer accessible to the public. But now that the lock-down is over, we must be back to the real food.