Offering a Mass for Someone as Intercessory Prayer
“Father, can you pray for…” People often ask me to pray for them or for their loved ones, just as many of you are asked to pray for someone. How powerful is our intercessory prayer! Some of us may lift up a person in need in our morning prayer, Rosary, or prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Intercessory prayer is the most potent force known to humanity. Because we have been made partakers in Jesus' victory over sin and death (1 John 4:4), we have the authority as sons and daughters of God to pray for others, pushing back the darkness of sin and oppression. In prayer, we have a weapon that has divine power to destroy strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:4). The power of prayer is something God invites us to use as we seek not only personal transformation but the transformation of others as well.
The Holy Mass: The Greatest Intercessory Prayer
Did you know that one of the most powerful forms of intercessory prayer is attending the Holy Mass with devout intention? The Church considers the Mass the greatest possible prayer of intercession because it is the perfect offering of Christ to the Father by making present the Paschal Mystery of His death and resurrection. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, once and for all, brought about the forgiveness of repented sins and an infinite outpouring of God’s graces.
"The heavens open and multitudes of angels come to assist in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass...Every Holy Mass, heard with devotion, produces in our souls marvelous effects, abundant spiritual and material graces which we ourselves, do not know.” - St. Padre Pio
How do I offer a mass for someone: intentional prayer
You can have an intention for each Mass that you attend (resolution of a family matter, health problem, deceased loved one etc.), and offer them in your heart to God. As you sit in your pew you can literally pray in your heart, “Lord, I want to offer this mass for the following intention …” This simple prayer is powerful because every baptized persons share in the high priesthood of Jesus. Each of us are united with Christ the eternal priest as he offers himself, with the members of his Mystical Body, to the heavenly Father in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
A prayer that Jesus taught St. Faustina shows us the powerful connection between the our share in the priesthood of Jesus and Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
Additional way to offer a mass for someone: mass stipend
It is a longstanding tradition in the Church that a priest may be requested to offer a Mass for a specific intention, even when one cannot be physically present at the Mass. The faithful make a freewill offering, called a stipend, to the church in order to apply the Mass to a specific intention. By making this offering, the faithful, by making their own offering, associate themselves more intimately with Christ who offers Himself in the Sacred Host.
As the priest offers the Holy Mass, he makes a spiritual and internal act through which he commends the intention to God; while the priest celebrates the Mass according to the intention of the donor, the priest is free to offer up any number of other personal intentions.
The person who has offered the stipend has not "bought a Mass," a thing which is clearly impossible. What has happened is that the priest has committed himself to celebrate a Mass according to the intentions of the person making the offering. This intention is most often to recommend the soul of a deceased person but may also be for the personal intentions of the living.
Mass Stipend Policy of the Diocese and our parishes (Ascension / St. Francis)
According to our Diocesan policy (Pagella), the amount of the offering set for the celebration of Mass (the “stipend”) is $5. The stipend goes directly to the parish. The intentions are published in our weekly bulletin.
The usual norm of our diocese is that only one offering may be accepted for an individual Mass, and one Mass is to be applied for each individual offering (Pagella, p.88, http://diobr.org/documents-top/category/2-chancery-publications-and-forms?download=8:2009-revised-pagella-and-policies).
Due to our cluster parish situation, we do allow multiple mass stipends for each mass.
Changes to our current parish mass stipend policy (Aug. 2017)
Starting 8/26-27, 2017, we will institute a change in our mass stipend policy to be more in line with Diocesan policy. First of all, this policy change will not affect those mass intentions already written in our records. The change will apply to any new mass intentions added from this point forward.
New: Limit of 2 names for each mass stipend of $5
New: Beginning 2018, Sunday 8AM mass will be celebrated with the sole intention of “For the people” and for which no monetary offering is accepted.
Please know that because your mass intention is essentially a spiritual act, its publication neither adds nor subtracts from its efficacy. Therefore, if we failed to publish the name in our bulletin or mis-spelled the name, the Mass for that person is still efficacious.
-Fr. Paul Yi