Requesting a Mass Intention:
Mass intentions cannot be accepted by the parish for more than a full year from the current date.
If you would like a Mass card to provide to friends and family, noting the specific date and time of your intention, you must request your Mass intention in person at the parish office.
If you do not need a Mass card you can request Mass intentions by phone. A member of the parish staff will contact you to confirm your request.
The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. (Lumen gentium, no. 11)
A Mass is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, brought forward in time to the present. At Mass you could say that a “time warp” is opened in which the sacrifice of Jesus is mystically brought forward to be present to us. When we are present at a celebration of the Eucharist, we are not merely turning our attention to the past, we are actually bringing forward into the present the most pivotal moment of human history.
Every time Mass is celebrated, the sacrifice of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Calvary is re-presented in an unbloody manner affording the priest celebrant and all congregants who participate in the Mass an infinite amount of sanctifying grace. That grace can be applied to specific intentions, whether of the priest celebrant or the faithful.
Whenever a priest celebrates Mass, he has at least two intentions. The first intention is to celebrate the Mass according to what the rubrics (or directions) that the Church was provided for how to say the Mass. The second is to apply the grace of that Mass toward a specific need, whether it be a person(s), living or dead, baptized or not, or a special need. Every parish pastor is required, by Canon Law, to offer at least one Mass on Sunday for the needs and intentions of his parishioners (Can. 534 §1).
As to the first intention, a priest may find it helpful to pray a traditional prayer while he is vesting, stating his intention to pray the Mass well.
As to the second intention, commonly called “the intention of the Mass,” that intention is often announced in the Church bulletin at least one week before, and then it is sometimes also announced at Mass. These special intentions are offered to God as prayers of intercession and thanksgiving. In and through Christ’s perfect sacrifice made present to us in the Eucharist, we pray for the deceased, for those who are ill, for those who face various difficulties or challenges. Often people request a Mass as a prayer of thanksgiving to God for their experience of God’s loving grace helping them through a particularly challenging time of life. When a parishioner requests that a Mass be offered for a specific intention and the priest agrees to celebrate the Mass for that intention, then the priest has a most serious obligation to offer the Mass for that intention.
When requesting such an intention, it has become customary to make an offering that is given to the priest who celebrates the requested Mass. This is not “buying” a Mass, but has a two-fold purpose. It is firstly a gesture of solicitude to the priest for his needs in recognition of the costs associated with offering the Mass. Secondly, the offering is symbolic of the sacrifice the person requesting the Mass intention is making to associate more closely with the sacrifice of the Mass. The suggested offering for a Mass intention at St. Mary is $10.
The giving of an offering is an ancient custom. In the early Church, the faithful participating in the Eucharist provided the gifts necessary for the celebration (especially the bread and wine) as well as other gifts meant to support the clergy and to feed those most in need. In time, monetary offerings came to be substituted for bread and wine. By the end of the Middle Ages, such monetary offerings came to be standardized and were known as “stipends.”
To safeguard against abuses in regard to stipends, or offerings as they are now called in the Code of Canon Law, the Code specifies the obligations assumed by the priest when he accepts a request for a Mass intention and the records that must be kept in regard to the acceptance and celebration of such Masses.
It is important to note that, the graces of the Mass being infinite, many intentions can be offered up at a single Mass. While a priest may only accept an offering (or stipend) for only one intention at a single Mass, he may have many other intentions not attached to an offering. In addition, the faithful may bring their own intentions to the Mass, which they each carry privately and place upon the altar spiritually.