Every year is different, however 2020 will be a year to remember for all of us. Due to the pandemic COVID-19, Eucharistic celebrations that are opened to the public have been cancelled and the churches have been closed since April. We are not able to celebrate the Eucharistic Celebration physically together as a congregation and pray with the Lord in the adoration room.

The Church in Singapore has responded quickly with the Archdiocese launching a daily televised Eucharistic Celebration on YouTube and the Church of St. Michael has also begun to utilise  Zoom to engage the parishioners in its Evening Brew sessions and most recently, in its celebrating of the Sunday Eucharistic celebrations.

Our Protestants friends have been attending service online for some time. While the Catholic Church does have televised Eucharistic Celebrations in the United States of America and other parts of the world, for the Homebound and those who cannot make the physical journey to the church compounds, Singapore is a recent player in the arena of online and televised Eucharistic Celebration.  Receiving Christ in the Blessed Eucharist gives us the strength to fight our selfish pride and to rise above our sins. Every Eucharistic Celebration is a healing experience – It heals wounds caused by our sinful nature, it heals our relationship with God, and with one another, and brings us closer to our Lord, giving us opportunities to draw near to Him and to receive Him not only in the Word, but also in the Blessed Sacrament.

It is interesting to note that the reception of frequent Communion is also a fairly recent phenomenon in the Church, and only came to be adopted as practice via the encouragement of Pope St. Pius X (1903 -1914). For many centuries, in part due to the history of the ongoing wars among the nations, and the incidences of pandemic and plague, access to the reception of Holy Communion was not regular at all. St Louis IX (1214 -1270) received communion only six times a year, and this was thought to be frequent.

The deprivation of the physical Eucharist in these extraordinary times and the shift towards online and televised Eucharistic Celebrations is a game changer for Catholics today. These extraordinary times require extraordinary means, and hence the Act of a Spiritual Communion is permissible as we keep the Lord’s Day holy.

The danger comes when we start to view the online and televised Eucharistic Celebrations as one would watch Netflix. With that, the dichotomy between the Eucharistic Celebration that is physically real and one that is mediated via media is seen clearly. One is a foretaste of heaven and the other is not.