On March 12, Archbishop Wilton Gregory announced that in response to public health recommendations from local government leaders regarding the potential spread of coronavirus, Masses open to the public in all archdiocesan parishes, missions and campus ministries will not be celebrated starting March 14 until further notice,  and Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington will be closed from March 16 through March 27.

Archbishop Gregory also issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass during this time to all parishioners of the Archdiocese of Washington.

The Archdiocese of Washington produces a weekly Sunday TV Mass filmed in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for Catholics who are unable to be physically present with a local worshipping community for the Sunday Eucharistic Liturgy.

The Mass airs every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on WDCW-50, which people can view on that channel and at that time if they have no cable, or if they are Dish or Direct TV subscribers. For people who are Comcast subscribers, the Mass can be viewed on Channel 23 in Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, and on Channel 3 in Prince George's County and Southern Maryland. For those with Verizon TV service, it can be viewed on Channel 3, and for those with RCN, on Channel 15. The Sunday TV Mass is also available to view through free online streaming at adw.org/tvmass and on the National Shrine's YouTube channel.

The Archdiocese of Washington has a special web page at adw.org/coronavirus where people can find information from the archdiocese related to the coronavirus, and also spiritual resources to draw upon.

On that web page, it is noted that Catholics unable to attend Masses “are encouraged to make a ‘spiritual communion’. St. John Paul II writes that “it is good to cultivate in our hearts a constant desire for the sacrament of the Eucharist. This was the origin of the practice of ‘spiritual communion’, which has happily been established in the Church for centuries and recommended by saints who were masters of the spiritual life. St. Teresa of Jesus wrote: ‘When you do not receive communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.’” (Ecclesia Eucharistia, no. 34)

That page also includes recommendations for making a spiritual communion, which people can be adapted based on personal and family needs:

  • Gather with others in your household and begin a time of prayer with the sign of the cross.
  • Take time to read and reflect upon the readings from Sunday Mass. You can find the readings at usccb.org and a Sunday Gospel reflection on the Archdiocese of Washington's YouTube channel. Additionally, a weekly televised Sunday Mass is available to watch at adw.org/tvmass.
  • Share prayer intentions quietly or aloud.
  • Pray the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Pray one of the following prayers of spiritual communion (see below).
  • Close with the sign of the cross.

The spiritual resources web page also offers the texts of several prayers, including the Prayer to the Most Holy Redeemer, the Prayer to Our Lord Jesus Christ Crucified, An Act of Spiritual Communion by St. Alphonsus Liguori, reflections on the importance of both prayer and action, and information to help people pray the Stations of the Cross at home.

The web page also includes the text of Pope Francis's prayer to Mary during the coronavirus pandemic, adapted from Vatican News:

“O Mary, you always shine on our path as a sign of salvation and of hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.

“You, Salvation of Your People, know what we need, and we are sure you will provide so that, as in Cana of Galilee, we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial.

“Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who has taken upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows to lead us, through the cross, to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.

“Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.”