Dear Cathedral Parish Family,

Peace be with you. I pray that you and your loved ones are well. I am writing to you today to provide important updates in light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In this fluid and ever-changing time, Bishop Stika – in consultation with other Dioceses and consistent with direction by the CDC and the White House – has made the difficult decision to suspend all public celebrations of Holy Mass across the Diocese which became effective March 20th. He will continue to review this guidance regularly and revisit these and other actions as the situation calls for.

As necessary as these changes are in helping keep us safe, it’s also important to remember that we remain a community of faith; one that trusts in the Lord and shares our blessings with each other. At this time, we need to make extra efforts to reach out to those who need us. As a parish family, we are sharing new ways we can draw even closer to God and one another at this time.

To that end, I invite you to stay close to the Church and to our Parish community in some of the following ways:

• Participate in the Mass and Devotions from the Cathedral online at

• Check out the options for Adult Faith Formation as well as opportunities for Youth and Young Adults to connect via our new and developing online programs.

• Make a specific effort to draw closer to God in prayer.

• Catholics are encouraged to make a ‘spiritual communion’ (see enclosed)

• Set aside a specific time to pray each day

• Pray the Stations of the Cross on Fridays in Lent

The USCCB provides an audio version of the Stations of the Cross that can be practiced at home.

• Stay in contact with us by visiting our parish website where we will post updates regularly.

• Follow the Cathedral parish on Social Media on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

• Send us an email with your email address so that we can update our files and be able to reach you electronically with the most important updates. You can email us at [email protected].

• Subscribe to DioNotes for the latest news from the Diocese

• Further information and resources are available on the Diocese website

• We will also be creating a phone tree with volunteers calling other parishioners to pray with them, check in on them, and continue to create a strong bond of community during this present time. If you are interested in volunteering for this phone tree ministry, you can contact Deacon Walt Otey at [email protected] or call the parish office at 865-588-0249.

Lastly, but importantly, I want to thank you for financially supporting the Cathedral Parish! We recognize that many people will be affected by the economic fallout from this pandemic. Our Cathedral Parish needs your financial support more than ever to continue to minister to our community and provide the vital services to our brothers and sisters that will be needed in the days ahead. On the first weekend of the social distancing, our parish offertory fell short of our need for operations by over $20,000. We will do everything possible to cut expenses and be good stewards of the resources you entrust to us, but we need your support.

If you haven’t already done so, I highly encourage you to use online giving to support the important work of the parish. It’s safe, easy, and convenient and can be found on our website
If you need assistance setting-up online giving, you can call the Parish office at 865-588-0249. Contributions can also be mailed to the parish office at 417 Erin Drive, Suite 120, Knoxville, TN 37919.

Please know that I continue to pray for you each day and ask that you pray also for me and our entire parish family – indeed our entire church, nation, and world. In a special way, let us pray together for those affected by this serious virus and those caring for them, that they may receive the strength and care needed to assist them in their recovery.

In Christ,

Very Rev. David Boettner, V.G.


What Should I do if I can’t go to Mass?

Catholics are encouraged to make a ‘spiritual communion.’

St. John Paul II writes, “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.

“If we are deprived of Sacramental Communion, let us replace it, as far as we can, by spiritual communion, which we can make every moment; for we ought to have always a burning desire to receive the good God,” said St. Jean-Marie Vianney.

Saint 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).

How Do I Make a Spiritual Communion?

Below are recommendations for how to make a ‘spiritual communion’ when unable to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The recommendations can be adapted based upon 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

• 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

What if I cannot receive the sacrament of Confession?

Where the individual faithful find themselves in the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental absolution, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God, beloved above all things, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (that which the penitent is at present able to express) and accompanied by votum confessionis, that is, by the firm resolution to have recourse, as soon as possible, to sacramental confession, obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (cf. CCC, no. 1452).” • perfect contrition requires • the love of God • the sincere desire for forgiveness • the ardent commitment to receive the sacrament of reconciliation when available.

Prayer to the Most Holy Redeemer (Anima Christi)

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.

Body of Christ, save me.

Blood of Christ, embolden me.

Water from the side of Christ, wash me.

Passion of Christ, strengthen me.

O good Jesus, hear me.

Within thy wounds hide me.

Never permit me to be parted from you.

From the evil Enemy defend me.

In the hour of my death call me.

and bid me come to thee,

that with your saints I may praise thee

for age upon age.


Prayer to our Lord Jesus Christ Crucified

Behold, O good and loving Jesus, that I cast myself on my knees before you and, with the greatest fervor of spirit, I pray and beseech you to instill into my heart ardent sentiments of faith, hope, and charity, with true repentance for my sins and a most firm purpose of amendment. With deep affection and sorrow I ponder intimately and contemplate in my mind your five wounds, having before my eyes what the prophet David had already put in your mouth about yourself, O good Jesus: They have pierced my hands and my feet; they have numbered all my bones (Ps. 21: 17-18).

Pope Francis’s Prayer to Mary during Coronavirus Pandemic

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.

(Adapted from Vatican News.)

Act of Spiritual Communion by St. Alphonsus Liguori

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

I love You, above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,

come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You.


In Christ,

Fr. David

Very Rev. David A. Boettner, V.G.
Vicar General – Diocese of Knoxville
Rector – Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus