In the Gospel (cf. Luke 10:38-42), Jesus is initially welcomed into Martha’s home. She nearly misses the importance of his visit by worrying about the things, the stuff, rather than the person sitting in her midst. As once He came to Abraham, Mary, and Martha, Christ now comes to each of us in Word and Sacrament.
May our hearts be open to welcoming him.
Over the next few weeks I will be be presenting in this column some things to know about Mass Intentions:
What are Mass intentions and why do we have them? The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of the spiritual life and the very life of the Catholic Church. 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 the rites of the Roman Church, that is, according to what the Church does. The second is to apply the grace of that Mass towards 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). This is called Pro Populo, for the people.
“The intention of the Mass” is usually announced in the Church bulletin at least one week before, and then it is usually announced out loud at Mass. Often the Mass intention is requested by a parishioner for the repose of the soul of a loved one.
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. It is a good and pious custom for the faith- ful to make an offering, usually about 10 dollars, to the priest who celebrates the Mass.
Explain that $10 offering:
The 10 dollars does not buy a Mass! Masses and graces are not for sale. Rather, the 10 dollars is a gesture of solicitude to the priest for his upkeep, and gesture of sacrifice.
In case you are wondering, a priest can not get rich on Mass offerings since he is limited to one Mass on weekdays, and two on Sundays, although in special circumstances he could celebrate two Masses on weekdays (that’s called bination) and three on Sundays.
However if a priest has multiple Masses in a day, he may only keep the 10 dollars from one Mass, the rest has to go, in our Diocese, to the St. Joseph Priest Fund which assists our elderly priests. The Misa Pro Populo is an offering of the priest himself and therefore receives no stipend for that Mass