"Normally, when you are saying the prayers, it's very easy to look out over the congregation and see who's there and you know, what comes to mind," he said, explaining that being able to see the assembly helps to remind him of the circumstances of individual parishioners and remember them in his prayers.
While churches are closed for the time being, Fr. Folwaczny echoed the encouragement of many priests and bishops for the faithful to tune into Mass if possible, and to make a spiritual communion.
A spiritual communion, he explained, "is a way for us to say, okay, whatever the reason is, I can't receive communion at this moment."
"But what happens at communion? We enter into this deep relationship, this presence of the grace of Jesus Christ and in the Eucharist in particular, His body and soul and divinity. And so as Catholics, we want that. We want that deep communion with our God. But again, it's not always possible," he said.
When making a spiritual communion, the person "asks God in prayer in those moments when He knows that this thing is not possible for us at this time, to still come into our hearts at least spiritually, to come into our lives, to continue to fill us with the grace that we need to be sustained, even though we can't receive the Eucharist at this time," Folwaczny explained.
For most of the Church's history--until the early 20th century--Catholics did not habitually receive the Eucharist every Sunday. Folwaczny told CNA that he hopes this uncertain time of suspended Masses and decreased physical access to the sacraments will help Catholics "enter into a deeper solidarity with those around the world" who still lack access to regular Masses, either because of the remoteness of where they live, a shortage of priests, or the threat of violence.