Theology teacher reacts to suspension of Mass

Unusual, but not the first time, the Church has instituted policy


Anne Marie King

Theology teacher Mrs. Cece Kasberg teaches a theology class — now known as a religion class — last spring.

Nya Huff, Reporter

COVID-19 has been sweeping the world and hasn’t spared anyone of its chaos. This pandemic canceled a wide variety of activities and events from NBA games to concerts to closing Indiana schools until May 1, and perhaps beyond.

The outbreak has even suspended any form the beloved Catholic Mass until further notice in Indiana.

A suspension of the Mass is rare, but this is not the first time this has happened in the history of Catholicism. Theology teacher Mrs. Cece Kasberg ‘83 said that a suspension of the Mass could have occurred in 14th century Europe and Asia during the black plague. Kasberg said, “Numerous dioceses halted the public Masses during the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918.”

Masses all around the world have been halted because of the coronavirus, including in the United States. In countries where Catholicism is prevalent, like Italy, priests have been celebrating online Masses on the Vatican website, and some churches have remained open for screen-to-screen reconciliation or reconciliation at a safe distance.

There are many ways to still celebrate the Mass while it is suspended to the public. Catholics can particiate in online Masses, pray, read Scripture and more to still praise our Lord without the ability to receive Communion and attend the Mass.

To celebrate the Mass without actually attending, Kasberg said, “I watched Sunday Mass on EWTN (the Catholic cable channel) last Sunday and will continue to do so weekly.” She also said she is taking advantage of the opportunity to grow closer to the Lord through that and the sacred scripture.

In addition to these activities, Kasberg said, “We are always able to make a spiritual Communion.  With a spiritual Communion, we unite ourselves to God through prayer. It is a beautiful way to express to God our desire to be united with him when we are unable to complete that union in the reception of Holy Communion.”

She said individual can do this by praying the act of spiritual Communion and the Hail Mary.

Kasberg said she absolutely supports the archdiocese’s decision to suspend the Masses until further notice. She said, “As Catholics we always look to our bishop for guidance and direction in all things Catholic and follow his directives joyfully. That’s what he’s there for.” She also says it is good for the Masses to be suspended so there is less risk of getting the elderly sick. Suspending the Mass will help keep the virus contained as much as possible.

The practice of holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer and exchanging greetings already had been suspended before the cancellation of Mass.

The major difference between the suspension of Mass now and suspension of Mass in the past is that a holy day of obligation wasn’t in jeopardy of being canceled.

If this virus continues to spread, the Easter Mass and Vigil will be in jeopardy of being canceled as well. This Mass is different than all other Masses. It is celebrated in three different parts and allows for people to join the Catholic Church. You can be baptized, confirmed and receive your first communion on Holy Saturday during the Vigil.

Kasberg said, “As far as the possibility that Easter Masses might be suspended, I am most sympathetic for those who are anticipating entering fully into the Church at the Easter Vigil.”  She noted that these individuals have been preparing for months to join the Church and may not have the chance to do so until later than expected.

Through the midst of the misinformation, anxiety  and fear spread by this virus, people must make the best of things and rely on their faith, even if they don’t have the ability to go to Mass and receive the sacraments.

Kasberg said, “While it’s easy to let the uncertainty of the virus play on our fears mostly due to all the unknowns, this is a great time to double down on our faith in God. Don’t forget our God is an awesome God. Don’t be afraid to have a relationship with Him, and don’t be afraid to pray for miracles.”

She also said we must do our job to stop the spread of the virus, so wash your hands, stay socially distant and don’t put others, especially the elderly, in harm’s way of the virus.