The approved practice for many centuries in the Church is that a person may provide a stipend as a contribution to the priest for the celebration of Mass for one’s intention. That intention is then associated as a special petition with the offering of the Mass. It does not mean that it “monopolises” the power of the Mass, which is infinite in value and is primarily offered in the name of the whole Christian community. It does not mean that it binds God’s mercy and providence in terms of time and space, which are created realities. Therefore, Masses and prayers offered for someone who has died may well have had their effect in providing beforehand the grace of a happy death and entry to the Kingdom of God. Here we stand on
the threshold of the mystery of Christ as Saviour.
Given that Mystery of Faith, which we proclaim after the Eucharistic Prayer at every Mass, the Church is most concerned that the sacredness of the Eucharist be not compromised by human malice or weakness. To propose that one may “buy” a Mass is the crime of Simony, which takes its name from Simon the Magician condemned by St. Paul for proposing to purchase from him the power of the Holy Spirit.
All profiteering is strictly prohibited. A priest may accept just a single stipend for a particular Mass and, if he is unable to celebrate the Mass himself, he must transfer that stipend to another priest who will fulfil the obligation.
When priests receive more stipends than they themselves can satisfy these are transferred on to other priests, for instance those in Missionary countries. The Pontifical Mission Society provides a service in this respect. It means that we are also supporting the work of Christ in spreading the Gospel. Again there may be an interval before those Masses are actually celebrated but, as explained above, this does not postpone their efficacy.
The Church lays down in its law that anyone who traffics for profit in Mass stipends is guilty of a crime. That is why the name of the priest who takes responsibility for offering the Mass is required to be clearly identified.
In this parish we provide a service to parishioners which is transparent and unquestionable. In the Parish Centre we provide Mass Cards for which the individual priest who has signed the card takes on the responsibility of celebrating the Masses himself or seeing to it that they are celebrated. Finally donors themselves should not see Mass Cards just as transient greetings or gestures of sympathy. They should themselves also pray that God in his love and mercy will respond. The Mass should not be a person’s prayer at one remove! “The prayer of a good person is powerful and effective”. (James 5:16).
MASS FROM ST. MARY’S CHURCH, MALLOW
NOW LIVE ON THE INTERNET
All Masses from St. Mary’s Church can now be watched live on the internet. You can now follow Mass and all Services from St. Mary’s Church live. Most households now have an internet connection, for some, if not all, members of the household. It is hoped users will share their facility for others who may not have the skills.
The service is intended firstly for the sick and housebound. It will also facilitate relatives and friends who are unable to attend a funeral Mass or families abroad who cannot attend a wedding.
The existing radio link remains in place also.
Archdeacon Gerard Casey, P.P., V.F., Mallow.