Fr. Z’s VOICEMAIL! Attention PITTSBURGH! And – ASK FATHER: What to do while watching live streamed Mass?

Here are a couple of interesting things from my voicemail.


…someone is trying to get a TLM organized in Pittsburgh.  He would appreciate contacts from you who are in the area.  He gave permission for me to post this with his name and email.

I hope some of you will get in touch.


Yes, this is a good question.

No, I absolutely and categorically think it a very bad idea to “adore” a Host through a screen like that.  It isn’t, as you point out, a Host.  It is a bunch of pixels.  The Host is not there and you are not even morally present, as in the case when there has to be overflow at a Mass because of the number of people at the church.

However, I think that we can, if one wishes, even take a knee and make a Spiritual Communion when the consecration is going on during a live streamed Mass.  Use the visual image to stir strongly one’s sentiments and aspirations, to help one offer one’s petitions and praise to God more perfectly.

This is what we have when we, for example, pray before a statue.  We are not praying TO the statue, but to the one the statue represents.  The statue is an aid to our prayer.

So, let no one be confused (like this guy HERE).   We don’t “adore” images of the Host, on a page or on a screen.

How to reach my voicemail.

Nota bene: I do not answer these numbers or this Skype address. You won’t get me “live”. I check for messages regularly.


020 8133 4535


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. PetersBarque says:

    2) Several things you might do will cause me to delete your comments or perhaps ban you from posting.  Here are a few:

    f) posting bare links to something without an explanation or description, or posting overly long links;

  2. roma247 says:

    One can of course send one’s guardian angel at the consecration, etc. to go and adore for you…a very laudable practice, which circumvents the problem of adoring a screen.

  3. Before I live-streamed my first Mass, I thought I would probably do the standing, sitting and kneeling as if I were really there. What I ended up doing was sitting in front of my iPad at my desk, or on my couch in front of the TV in my living room, drinking coffee. I would never dream of even bringing coffee into a church. I followed the propers and made spiritual Communions at the consecration, but the reality was, I wasn’t actually there and couldn’t even pretend I was there. It was better than nothing, and it was the best I could do at the time, but it was not as good as the real thing.

    How debilitating it is to be cut off from the Mass and the Sacraments.

  4. KatieP says:

    For Matt and anyone else here interested- a large number of those who attend Most Precious Blood (the ICK parish in Pittsburgh) live in the South Hills, and a cluster of those even in the same neighborhood. I’d recommend that once Masses start back up and social gatherings are allowed, you attend Low Mass and come to donuts afterwards. Get to know us, there are already people with ideas on where such a parish could be, perhaps once the numbers are a little higher even (I believe the church could technically fit 500-600). Also, expanded parking is one of the hopes for the future, but there are a few more pressing renovations to be made :-)

  5. Fr. Reader says:

    “No, I absolutely and categorically think it a very bad idea to “adore” a Host through a screen like that. It isn’t, as you point out, a Host. It is a bunch of pixels. The Host is not there and you are not even morally present, as in the case when there has to be overflow at a Mass because of the number of people at the church.”

    It has already entered into the head of many that it is good to “attend Mass online”, that has many advantages over “attending Mass physically” because there are less distractions, they do not waste time in transportation, it is easier to bring the children, etc.

  6. Irish Timothy says:

    So for websites that have live adoration of the Eucharist, not a good thing dead to pray in front of that? Totally agree that TV/internet is not even close to being there, never will be. Ever. Just wondering as in lockdown now in Canada (hopefully we get the mass back and confession before 2021 where I live near Toronto!!!!!!) and when I travel for work I’ve brought these sites up before. Thanks!

  7. Adelle Cecilia says:

    Fr. Reader: the only thing “easier” with the children has been explaining to them how hand missals work, where the ribbons go, and how to follow – all in real time, and without interrupting Mass. THIS, I think this is good.
    However, my 4yo absolutely refuses to “attend” Mass on the TV. He will get up and get dressed and gung-ho ready for Mass… but when I say, “ok, Mass is starting, let’s sit down,” he is completely offended. He can tell it isn’t “Mass” to just watch it on TV. Hopefully, confirmed adults realize/feel the same.
    From my Traditionally-minded friends with small children, their stories seem to be similar.

    As for the spiritual Communion – I think it is, of course, very beneficial. However, staring at the screen and saying the one that has been advertised just feels weird, to me. As though I’m somehow being taunted.
    This version, which can be said at any point, especially with one’s eyes closed, is my favorite version: “O Jesus, I turn toward the holy tabernacle where You live hidden for love of me. I love You, O my God. I cannot receive You in Holy Communion. Come nevertheless and visit me with Your grace. Come spiritually into my heart. Purify it. Sanctify it. Render it like unto Your Own. (Amen.)
    Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

  8. ordovirginum says:

    During virtual mass, I stood, sat and knelt as if I were really at holy mass, for fear of losing the habit. I kept reminding myself, though, that I was not at holy mass. After Easter I had enough. On Easter Monday I rebelled and turned it off halfway. I did begin again trying another virtual mass. Then I tried the Holy Father’s live-stream. That kept me going until the final one on May 18. I don’t know what it was about the Pope’s mass that kept me going. The word that comes to mind is authenticity but I don’t know why. After all, the other masses were authentic, too.

  9. Vanna says:

    We have been following this advice It is sensible practical advice and has helped us to keep a ‘normal’ Sunday routine as a family: getting ready at the usual time, dressing with more care, etc – but yes of course it is only an aid to personal prayer as FrZ says and I feel very much for the toddler ‘offended’ by streamed Mass: he has the right instinct!! However, I do know that prayer is my lifeline so all help is appreciated. And you get a good homily. If you want to do some adoration go and stand outside the church door (not loads of people at once obviously). You know where the tabernacle is and Jesus knows where you are! If you look weird to passers by – do you really care…? That – as well as watching Mass – is a good time to make a spiritual communion.

  10. Jann says:

    I’ve always recoiled at the idea of “watching Mass on TV” if one can’t be physically present at Mass, since Masses first started being televised eons ago. (Though if someone would like to hear the Readings and a homily, I can understand that, though I prefer to read the Readings.) When I see a consecrated host I want to adore it and my heart leaps out to it. This is my normal response and I don’t want to have to practice custody of heart and harden myself against such a response. I’m sure conditioning myself to merely observe would affect my response when actually at Mass.

  11. William Cody says:

    I remember there was a time when I didn’t like the idea of cameras taking picture of the consecrated host. It seemed like a sacrilege to capture the host’s image and reduce it to pixels.

    Looking back, this seems superstitious and almost pagan, like the fear that a picture with a camera can steal your soul.

    Ultimately, a video or a picture is just a computer generated painting or representation of the real thing, unless, of course, the world as we know it is just the shadow of the real, true world, and that things in themselves are no present. Or maybe since all things are filtered through our senses and processed through our mind, the things in themselves are not “out there” but all in our mind, anyway.

    No, it’s too early for philosophy.

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