When we face the death of someone, even a person who is not Catholic, to have a Mass offered for the repose of his soul and to offer our prayers are more beneficial and comforting than any other sympathy card or bouquet of flowers. To have a Mass offered on the occasion of their birthday, anniversary or Holy day is appropriate, beneficial and appreciated. An individual may ask a priest to offer a Mass for the repose of the soul of someone who has died. One must never forget the infinite graces that flow from the Sacrifice of the Mass which benefit one’s soul.
Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical "Mirae caritatis" (1902) beautifully elaborated this point and emphasized the connection between the communion of saints with the Mass: "The grace of mutual love among the living, strengthened and increased by the sacrament of the Eucharist, flows, especially by virtue of the Sacrifice [of the Mass], to all who belong to the communion of saints. For the communion of saints is simply ... the mutual sharing of help, atonement, prayers and benefits among the faithful, those already in the heavenly fatherland, those consigned to the purifying fire, and those still making their pilgrim way here on earth. These all form one city, whose head is Christ, and whose vital principle is love. Faith teaches that although the august Sacrifice can be offered to God alone, it can nevertheless be celebrated in honor of the saints now reigning in Heaven with God, who has crowned them, to obtain their intercession for us, and also, according to apostolic tradition, to wash away the stains of those brethren who died in the Lord but without yet being wholly purified."
Please keep in mind that the tradition of offering Masses for others, particularly the dead, originates in the very early Church. Inscriptions discovered on tombs in Roman catacombs of the second century evidence this practice: for example, the epitaph on the tomb of Abercius (d. 180), Bishop of Hieropolis in Phrygia, begs for prayers for the repose of his soul.
In The Words of Our Saints:
St. Ambrose (d. 397) preached, "We have loved them during life; let us not abandon them in death, until we have conducted them by our prayers into the house of the Lord."
St. Augustine (d. 430) recorded the dying wishes of his mother, St. Monica in his Confessions: "One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be."
Pope St. Gregory (d. 604) said, "Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them."
Mass Intentions are issued based on the universal law of the Church.
A request may be made for
- a person who is living
- a person who is deceased
- members of a family
- an intention fitting to the Eucharistic celebration; vocations, dedication to life, persecuted Christians, world peace, etc.
How are Mass intentions scheduled
- The Mass Intentions are filled on a first come first serve basis.
- The Mass Intention book is opened for scheduling for the new year on September 1 of each year.
- The suggested offering is $10.00 per Mass per intention.
- Mass Intentions (scheduled at least two weeks before the Mass) are published in the Bulletin.
- The petitioner may request a card that they can send to notify a person that the intention has been requested.