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A Message from the College Chaplain on COVID-19

Dear Members of the Manhattan College community,

Let me begin by echoing and extending the thoughts and prayers of so many in these challenging days. In times of uncertainty and anxiety we may often turn to our faith for some guidance and hope, which makes the tasks of social distancing all the more difficult when we are unable to gather together in liturgy and fellowship. While the practices many ordinarily turn to may not seem available, that need not lead to despair.

Our campus community and broader family comes from a variety of religious traditions, and our Campus Ministry and Social Action department is actively seeking ways to minister to our students that speak to their hearts and nourish their souls. We will continue to provide resources and suggestions that may be helpful in this regard in the coming days. Recognizing our Catholic tradition, I would like to offer the following as some possible ways to seek some spiritual sustenance.


Many dioceses and churches are increasing the opportunities to observe and celebrate the Eucharist together online. We are in the process of finding options for streaming live from the Chapel of St. John Baptist de La Salle and His Brothers starting Sunday, March 29th. In the meantime, you may want to look at Catholic Faith Network or St. Patrick’s Cathedral for daily and Sunday Eucharistic Celebrations. 

Act of Spiritual Communion:

Catholicism has a long tradition that when prevented from receiving Holy Communion, one can make an Act of Spiritual Communion as a source of grace. This is a deep desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament at a time when one cannot receive sacramental communion.  A helpful article on this tradition may be read here.

Prayer for Spiritual Communion

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 in 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.

Small Online Faith Groups:  

Students, faculty and staff may consider forming small faith groups online using Google Meet or Zoom. Dr. Kevin Ahern in the Religions Studies department has created this guide for college students and faculty to use in forming online faith groups in response to COVID19. Students and faculty interested in online faith groups can get in touch with campus ministry.

Liturgy of the Hours: 

Along with the Eucharist, the practice of the Liturgy of the Hours has grounded our individual and communal prayer life through the centuries. Many publishers have made such services free at this time in online formats so that the community may continue to find important means of prayer. Some of these include:

o   Magnificat

o   The Word Among Us

o   Give Us This Day

Virtual Prayer & Retreat Time:

Several organizations offer online retreat processes that can help to engage this season and ground ourselves in a deepening relationship with God. Two that I would especially recommend for this time are:

o   DENA – District of Eastern North America

o   Sacred Space Daily Prayer Online 


We are invited in these challenging times to keep one another, and our entire world, together in prayer. You may want to incorporate devotional prayers like the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet into private or family prayers at this time.

Please know that the Manhattan College Community is held up in my daily prayer and you are the intention of my daily Mass, currently celebrated at the friar’s chapel at St. John the Baptist in Midtown. I look forward to the day that we can come together once again in the name of our loving God and the praise of all that has helped to sustain and nurture us through these challenges! If I can personally be of any help to students, faculty, staff, alumni or families please do not hesitate to reach out. I am happy to speak over the phone (917) 601-6469 or arrange a meetup through Google Hangouts.

God Bless,

Father Tom


St. John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us!

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever!

Pandemic Prayer from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago:

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake. 

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent. 

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips remember those that have no place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,

let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.

We ask this through Christ the Healer. Amen.

Prayer to the Virgin Mary for Protection

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain, with steadfast faith.
You, Our Lady of New York, know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that,
as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection.


We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.