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From the Pastor 11/18/18

Mass Offerings... Continued
What it means to have a Mass “offered” for someone. The Church has always taught that the Mass brings about certain fruits. This includes effect upon the living members of the Church as well as the poor souls in purgatory. The special ministerial fruits of the Mass are applied to the particular intention of the Mass, often referred to as that “for whom the Mass is offered.” There are also special personal fruits from the Mass that benefit the celebrating priest who acts in the person of Christ, as well as the people who are in attendance and participate in the Mass.

A person may ask a priest to offer a Mass for a particular intention. Typically, a stipend is given to the priest for offering the Mass, which thereby in justice creates an obligation which must be satisfied. This particular intention is sometimes called a “stipended intention.” Whereas the intention normally goes to the priest, in the case of religious with vows of poverty, such as the Dominicans, the stipend goes to the community or the parish.

The Code of Canon Law clearly acknowledges that the offerings of the faithful for Mass intentions are a laudable practice. The Code revised in 1983 deliberately chose the term “offering” in preference to the traditional term “stipend.” This communicates that any offering given for the celebration of a Mass is to be freely given, as well as the fact that the poor and needy are never to be denied the celebration of a Mass for their intentions because of their inability to provide a customary offering (c. 945). Canon 946 states, “Christ’s faithful who make an offering so that Mass can be celebrated for their intention, contribute to the good of the Church, and by that offering they share in the Church’s concern for the support of its ministers and its activities.”

This practice dates back to the early Church and has clear pastoral value. 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 a birthday, anniversary or special need is appropriate, beneficial and appreciated.

The priest always has the particular intention in mind, even if it is not announced. During formation, priests are instructed to form a habitual intention of always remembering the particular intention. Sometimes it is not even known to the priest, such as when someone asks for a Mass to be offered for “a special intention.”

Thanksgiving Proclamation: Issued by President George Washing- ton, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789. By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and — Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and the signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and
rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go Washington!

A Blessed Week to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor