In response to the ongoing threat coronavirus poses, Portland-based Oregon Catholic Press is selling worship aids for parishioners to keep with them.

“OCP is partnering with parishes across the country to support their aim of keeping their parishioners safe during the COVID-19 threat, while at the same time remaining fully engaged in the liturgical life of their parish communities,” said Wade Wisler, OCP publisher.

OCP, owner of the Catholic Sentinel, is a not-for-profit music publisher and provider of worship resources such as Breaking Bread, Today’s Missal, Unidos en Cristo/United in Christ and Heritage Missal. Worship programs produced by OCP are used in churches across the United States and are distributed worldwide. Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample is chairman of the OCP board.

Through what OCP calls the Parishioner Personal Missal Program, parishes can purchase books that worshippers keep for home use or bring to Mass. Most dioceses have asked parishes to pull communal copies of missals and hymnals from the pews as a precaution against spreading COVID-19.

OCP’s missals contain the order of Mass, the church’s Scripture readings, prayers, songs and even morning and evening prayer designed for home and family.

“The reality is that many parishioners are particularly vulnerable to the harshest effects of the virus, and consequently aren’t able to attend liturgy,” said Wisler. “Instead, they are trying to stay connected at home through livestreamed Masses and other virtual liturgical celebrations. This personal missal program provides them — and those who may be able to attend in-person liturgies — with worship aids that will sustain them during this unprecedented time when the sharing of common resources is understandably discouraged.”

OCP, knowing that parishes are hard-pressed, suggests that parishioners donate to cover the cost of books, or more. Most worshippers may respond favorably and a parish may even end up on the plus side, Wisler said.

“This could help the parish, and people are getting something they can really use for their own prayer life,” he explained. “If a family is participating in a livestreamed Mass from home, they can sing along using the book. We are an incarnational and sacramental church. We don’t sit and let other people pray for us. We participate mind, body and soul.”

In addition to Mass, households can use the books for morning and evening prayer or to sing a favorite song before meals. Wisler said the domestic church is going through a resurgence during the pandemic and could be formed well by good worship aids. The books also sustain a family’s link to the wider church, he explained.

OCP will not give up on parish life and looks forward to its full return, said Wisler. In the meantime, he concluded, worship of God must go on.

OCP, a ministry founded in 1922, has donated more than $3 million to parishes in recent years and gives large annual donations to the Archdiocese of Portland and the Diocese of Baker.

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