ROME, 9 OCT. 2007 (ZENIT)
Answered by Legionary of Christ Father
Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum
Q: Unlike our present pastor, our former priest always would mention the
intention for the Mass. Is this up to the individual priest? It gets
printed in our bulletin, but I would hope the priest would mention who
the Mass is for at some point, even though I know God knows who it is
L.S., St. Louis, Missouri
A: While there are no universal laws regarding this topic, some dioceses
have published norms with common-sense indications that all priests may
take into account.
My reply is inspired by the norms issued by the Diocese of Rome.
There is no requirement to mention the priest's intention at the Mass.
Thus, a mention in the bulletin or some other public notification is a
legitimate option, especially when the pastor is aware that the person
who requested the Mass will not be present at the celebration.
If the person or family who requested the intention wishes to be
present, then it is good that the celebrant mention the name of the
person for whom the Mass is being offered.
This may best be done either after the greeting at the beginning of Mass
or as an intention of the prayer of the faithful.
The name should not normally be mentioned during the Eucharistic prayer.
This naming is best left for funeral Masses, Masses at the notification
of death, and significant anniversaries. The special formulas for
funerals, especially in Eucharistic Prayers 2 and 3, were specifically
composed with such occasions in mind and were not conceived for daily
It should be remembered that the Mass intention refers above all to the
intention of the celebrating priest who took upon himself the commitment
to celebrate for a specific intention when he accepted a stipend.
Since the Mass is infinite the priest may also have other personal
intentions that may or may not be reflected in the Mass formula used.
For example, a priest may offer the Mass for a deceased soul while at
the same time using the Mass formula "For Vocations," with the personal
intention of asking God to bless the Church with abundant vocations.
Likewise, while any person assisting at Mass is free to associate his
prayer with the intention of the priest celebrant, he or she is also
free to offer up participation at the Mass for any number of personal
We also have dealt amply with the topic of intentions and stipends in
our columns of Feb. 22 and March 8 in 2005.
* * *
Follow-up: Mentioning the Mass Intention
After our commentaries on reading out Mass intentions (Oct. 9) a priest
observed: "At a concelebrated Mass, each concelebrant conceivably has a
separate Mass intention. At my monastery, we have daily concelebration,
and we have a policy of never mentioning any Mass intention at Mass.
Otherwise, it could happen that if one Mass intention is mentioned by
the presiding celebrant, someone may be present who has requested a
different intention from one of the concelebrants, and would have the
impression that the requested intention was not fulfilled."
This is certainly a legitimate policy given the circumstances. There
might be particular occasions, however, when the fact that several
priests are concelebrating specifically allows for more than one
intention to be mentioned, provided that the faithful know that each
intention will be entrusted to a different priest.
Even though only one Mass is celebrated at a concelebration, each priest
legitimately celebrates a Mass and may receive a stipend for the
There is, however, a strict norm that a priest may never receive a
stipend for a concelebrated Mass if he celebrates, or more rarely
concelebrates, another Mass on the same day.
For example, if our correspondent, besides concelebrating at the
community Mass in the monastery, were to also celebrate for the people
at some other time, he could only accept a stipend for the second Mass.
He could have any number of personal intentions to offer at the
community Mass, but none associated with a stipend.