The tradition of Masses offered for the intentions of living or deceased loved ones originated in the very early Church and continues to be an important Catholic practice. For us who believe that the Mass is the perfect prayer, no greater gift can be offered for our loved ones, living and deceased, who may still need the help of our prayers. Priests are under a strict obligation to remember in a special way the person for whom the Mass is being offered.
Masses are often requested for a loved one who has recently died or on the anniversary of a death. However, the gift of a Mass intention is also a wonderful way to offer prayers on the event of a wedding anniversary, a birthday, an anniversary of ordination or entrance into religious life. Masses may also be offered for the intentions of a person about to undergo surgery, who is recuperating from an illness, who wishes to overcome addiction, sin or has some other special need. Masses may be offered in thanksgiving for blessings, family, health and answer to prayers.
Depending on the wishes of one wishing to arrange for a Mass to be celebrated for a particular intention, there are two forms that a Mass intention may take:
Announced Mass Intention
Announced Mass intentions are offered on a particular day and time, are listed in the previous week’s Sunday parish bulletin and at some point before or during the Mass at which the intention will be offered. A card is provided indicating the date and time of the Mass. Those arranging for an announced Mass intention are requested to make an offering of $20 to the parish for each intention.
Unannounced Mass Intention
Unannounced Mass intentions are offered without a specific day or time and may be celebrated by the priest on any day within one year. In case of need, unannounced Mass intentions may be passed on to neighbouring parishes, retired priests or priests with a special ministry. Unannounced Mass intentions are not announced during the Mass at which they are offered or listed in the parish bulletin. A card is provided indicating that Mass will be celebrated, but no specific day or time will be included. Those arranging for an unannounced Mass intention are requested to make an offering of $10 to the parish for each intention.