May 10, 2015 – A View From the Rectory Window

As the Mass intention book opens this week, many will be lined up outside the rectory window with intentions and questions. In this matter, I present to you some of the frequently asked questions presented to the staff:

If Mass is for everyone, why do we schedule Mass intentions? Whenever the Mass is celebrated, it embraces the entire human family, both living and dead. It is not limited to one person or one intention. The benefits of each Eucharist are infinite and include the whole world.

Nevertheless, we believe that there is inestimable value in “having a Mass celebrated” for a particular intention. This refers to holding up to the Lord a special intention in addition to the intentions that are included in the celebration of every Eucharist.

Why doesn’t the parish take more than one intention per Mass? The Church allows only one intention per Mass in order to avoid giving the appearance that the sacraments, and in particular the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, can be earned or purchased.

The idea of making an offering for a special intention comes from the long standing tradition in the early Church of the faithful participating in the Eucharist by providing 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.

The Church has deliberately chosen the term “offering”, to clearly show that any offering given for the celebration of a Massis to be freely given – and 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.

Why can we take five intentions for the Mass on Friday? Due to the shortage of priests and therefore daily Masses, it is not possible to have Masses said for everyone’s chosen intentions. For this reason, the Holy See authorized bishops to allow the celebration of Masses with several intentions at once under the direction of the local bishop. In our diocese, we are allowed to celebrate one Mass per week with “cumulative” intentions.

Why can’t I always have the same Mass dates for my loved ones that I have been requesting for years? The Church is not merely an historical institution, but also a living reality. The teaching of the Church is clear that no one be denied the celebration of their intention because of their inability to provide a customary offering. In a similar manner, the Church recognizes that the life of the Christian Faithful is constantly being renewed and revealed and no one should be denied the celebration of their intention because some members of the Body of Christ might be granted an historical privilege.

Why can’t I schedule Mass intentions several years in advance? Again, because the Church is a living reality and no one can foresee the needs of the Christian Faithful, Mass intentions are scheduled to follow the rhythm of the liturgical year.

How can we schedule healing intentions promptly? In an effort to keep open the possibility of having the intention for healing, which obviously cannot be forecast, we attempt to leave open as long as possible one of the Friday ‘cumulative’ intentions at the Church of the Resurrection. It is noteworthy that in our parish we are fortunate to celebrate Mass daily at both the Church of the Resurrection and Saint Casimir. Hence, the possibility of having a prompt healing intention provided during Mass is often possible in our parish.
Additionally, at the entrance to each of our parish churches there are books to record intentions that will be brought to the altar at every Mass.

Father Pete