A particular way to remember people’s requests for prayers is for a priest to offer a Mass for that intention. In this light, the Code of Canon Law states: “It is earnestly recommended to priests that, even if they do not receive an offering, they celebrate Mass for the intentions of Christ’s faithful, especially of those in need” (c. 945, §2).
The fruits of the eucharistic sacrifice of Christ are boundless. Yet, it is not in contradiction to the universal fruits of the Mass for the priest to pray for a specific intention. The church, in fact, encourages this legitimate custom, particularly in offering Masses for the dead. I find that having Masses offered for people after they have died is frequently overlooked. We believe that our prayers can help those who have died. In this light, having Masses offered for our deceased loved ones is a real way that we can show our love and affection for them.
It is also a noble custom for people to make a modest offering on the occasion of requesting a Mass intention. The suggested offering is $10 per Mass. Masses do not cost anything, and one may request a Mass without making the offering.
Yet there is great value in making an offering when requesting a Mass intention. Historically, this custom of making an offering on the occasion of a Mass intention seems to spring from the ancient practice when people brought forth the gifts of bread and wine at Mass, along with other gifts for the sustenance of the priest and as food for the poor. Thus, the offering for the Mass intention is a way for the people to unite themselves with the offering of Christ — and so also to share in the fruit of his sacrifice. It is also a way to support the work of the church and its ministers.
Because we have fewer priests assigned to parishes these days, there are fewer Masses, and there are not as many opportunities for Mass intentions to be celebrated in our parishes. We cannot schedule Mass intentions more than a year in advance, to make sure that the intentions are prayed for. However, there are many retired priests and missionary priests who would be very happy to offer Masses for your intentions. Your parish can send the intentions to Rev. Robert Vandenberg of the Leo Benevolent Association if they cannot be scheduled at the parish.
We are happy to pray for you and offer Masses for your intentions. Do not hesitate to ask.