June 9, 2019
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and those whose sins you retain are retained.”
Every Mass can be offered for a particular intention (or intentions). This is simply referred to as a “Mass intention”, or “offering a Mass up for a person or intention”. A Mass is generally offered for a person, but can also be offered for another specific intention as well.
In order to understand the value of Mass intentions, we need to first understand the great importance of the Mass itself. The one, perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ was his passion and death on the cross as he offered himself with perfect love and obedience to the Father. The Mass is the perpetual memorial of that sacrifice. This is why the sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest prayer, because it is our participation in the perfect sacrifice and prayer of Jesus. In other words, the Mass has the same value as Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
(I very much encourage you to read a book called The Weight of a Mass, which is a very inspiring book, based on a true story, about the importance of the Mass. It is a children’s book, but has a powerful message for all of us.)
During the Mass we are invited to spiritually unite ourselves to Jesus by lifting up our hearts to the Lord. Additionally, we can “offer” the Mass for someone, which means we ask Jesus to give special graces that flow from his crucifixion to that particular person.
There is infinite grace that Jesus gives to us through his death on the cross, and thus Mass has this same infinite value. In every Mass, the grace of Christ continues to be poured out upon us and upon those for who we offer the Mass.
Masses can be said for the living and the deceased. Masses for the dead are noted in the bulletin by a + next to the name. It is especially important for us to offer Masses for those who have died, for the repose of their soul. In fact, whenever a priest of our Archdiocese dies, all the other priests are asked to offer three Masses for the repose of his soul. Similarly, I very much encourage you to have Masses said for loved ones who have died. I recommend three Masses shortly after their death, and then a Mass every year near their birthday or date of death.
To request a Mass intention, call or visit the parish office. It is also requested to give a stipend of $7 for a Mass intention. While a stipend is not mandatory, it is recommended as a way of supporting the church.
Sometimes people will say something like “this is my Mass” when the Mass is offered for their intention, however, this is not a proper way to talk about the Mass. The Mass is never “ours”. It is Christ’s sacrifice, offered through the Church by the hands of the priest, for the sake a particular intention.
Finally, I have decided to make some changes regarding requesting Mass intentions. Going forward, an individual will only be allowed to request a maximum of 12 Mass intentions per year. I apologize to those who desire to request more Masses than this, however, since we have such a limited number of Masses at IC each year, and over 400 families, I want to make sure everyone will have the opportunity to request Masses.
You are in my daily prayers.
God bless you,
Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke