The Congregation for Divine Worship has issued a votive Mass for this time of pandemic, and a new intention for the Solemn Intercessions during the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday. The new liturgical texts are available on the Congregation’s website, along with the Decrees dated 30 March promulgating them. The documents had already been provided to the world’s bishops.
The Mass opens with a prayer that God would “look with compassion on the afflicted, grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to health care workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love.”
In a letter dated 30 March, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation, and Archbishop Arthur Roche, Congregation Secretary, said, “In these days, during which the whole world has been gravely stricken by the COVID-19 virus,” many bishops and priests have asked “to be able to celebrate a specific Mass to implore God to bring an end to this pandemic.”
The Mass in the Time of Pandemic,can be celebrated on any day except solemnities; the Sundays of Advent, Lent and Easter (season); days within the Octave of Easter; the commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day); Ash Wednesday; and the days of Holy Week.
The Opening Prayer, or Collect, reads: “Almighty and eternal God, our refuge in every danger, to whom we turn in our distress; in faith we pray look with compassion on the afflicted, grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to healthcare workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love, so that together we may give glory to your holy name.”
The offertory prayer for the Mass reads: “Accept, O Lord, the gifts we offer in this time of peril. May they become for us, by your power, a source of healing and peace. Through Christ our Lord.”
The new Mass ends with the “prayer over the people,” which says: “O God, protector of all who hope in you, bless your people, keep them safe, defend them, prepare them, that, free from sin and safe from the enemy, they may persevere always in your love. Through Christ our Lord.”
Good Friday intention
The intention for Good Friday includes a prayer “for those who suffer because of this pandemic”, that is, those who “suffer the consequences of the current pandemic” The prayer asks that God in His compassion might protect those who are suffering, relieve the pain of those who are sick, give strength to those who are taking care of them, and welcome the deceased into eternal peace.