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Message for Priests and Faithful

Notice Board > Mass Cards

Mass Offerings

Various misunderstandings about the tradition of Mass Offerings and clear dangers of exploitation of the Mass can very easily emerge. For this reason, the Irish Bishops wish to make clear the Church's position on Mass Offerings. The following is a brief summary of the Church's teaching and regulation regarding Mass Offerings.

The celebration of the Eucharist is at the heart of our belief and anything that might weaken or undermine our respect for the Eucharist must be avoided.

The practice of giving an offering dates back to the early Church when the faithful gave gifts for the support of the priest and for the poor.
The Mass must never become a matter of 'buying and selling', nor should there be even the slightest appearance of making a profit from mass offerings.

Normally a separate Mass is celebrated for each individual offering. The donor specifies the individual intention and its up to the donor to decide what amount to give. Because donors may sometimes ask how much is appropriate to give, a recommended diocesan offering is specified, a priest may accept less than the specified amount - and many priests on occasion do.

The priest who receives the offering has an obligation to apply Mass for the specific intention of the person who has made the offering. If a priest receives too many mass intentions he must transfer the surplus mass offerings to another priest, (normally these offerings will be sent to priests working in needy areas).

The Church does not encourage 'collective' or 'multi-intentional Masses but rather sees them as an exception. In these exceptional cases, the followwing must apply.

a). It must be made explicitly clear to the donor beforehand that the offering is being combined into a single mass offering and the donor must give free consent to this.

b). The place, date and time for this Mass should be indicated publicly and such masses may not be celebrated any more than two days weekly in any church.

c). The priest who celebrates Mass for a collective intention must not keep any more than the specified diocesan offering, and must transfer any additional amount, in accordance with canon law, for the purpose prescribed by the Bishop.

Having signed or stamped Mass Cards for sale to the public in shops and other commercial outlets is a practice that is not approved by the Irish Episcopal Conference. We ask that this practice, wherever it exists, be discontinued.

We strongly encourage the donor, where possible, to participate in the Mass. We recommend that the intention for which the Mass is being especially offered is mentioned in the prayer of the faithful.

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