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Mass Stipends?
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Author:  TP [ Thu Oct 05, 2006 6:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Mass Stipends?


What is your theological/liturgical opinions on collecting mass stipends for a mass? The person comes in, pays $10 for a mass to be said for someone. This then becomes the priests intention for that mass as it is being said. However, every catholic CAN and SHOULD offer every mass up for various intentions when they get to mass. Their own intention at mass is theologically the same as the Priest's intention.

At on time this was a necessary income for the priest, but most areas have moved to a salary for the priest. In fact, in our diocese all stipends go to the parish and not the priest.

Also the Wording the Mass intentions. We put the intentions in our bulletin, but I have to change them some times. They want to write "In the memory of John Smith". But it is NOT "in the memory of", but rather, we are Actually praying for JOHN SMITH. this is not just a memorial gift, but we will actually be praying for his soul. Perhaps, they do not understand purgatory enough.

We could stop charging for stipends, but still have intentions? OR would that bring our understanding of purgatory to an even lower level.


Author:  Notnew [ Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:36 pm ]
Post subject: 

This is still very new to me. I probably shouldn't express an opinion. I would like to do this for my dad, my mom and my brother. Would it need to be a separate Mass for each, or would I give $30 because it is for all three?

Linda S.

Author:  Cowboy Max [ Fri Oct 06, 2006 12:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mass Stipends?

TP wrote:
At on time this was a necessary income for the priest, but most areas have moved to a salary for the priest. In fact, in our diocese all stipends go to the parish and not the priest.

The question is: where does the salary money come from? I don't know about US, but here at least we have the problem that the parishes can hardly cover their expenses, let alone do any building, renovating and such. If the stipends are a good way to increase parish income, then I am all for it, and was a bit appalled when I ordered Mass for our family celebration this month, and the parish priest said something along the lines of: "Well, you don't really have to pay, but if you insist, then a 5€ note would do..." Yet we do not get many Masses with an intention, while in Poland you would have to reserve up to half a year in advance, and all weekday Masses seem to have an intention.

Author:  ThyKingdomCome [ Fri Oct 06, 2006 2:42 pm ]
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I didn't realize the mass intention was only the priest's intention. My impression was that during the prayer of the faithful, when they pray for "(name) for whom this mass is offered" that meant that it was a more universal intention. Also, my understanding was that you gave an optional donation to the church (with check made out to the church, not the priest) to have a mass said and that one does not require the other. At least that's the way it's been presented to me. Is this different than a stipend?

Author:  matteo d'basio [ Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:50 pm ]
Post subject: 

A Primer on Mass Intentions

1. All Masses are said for all people, as a close reading of the Eucharistic Prayers shows.

2. The "Mass Intention" is the intention of the priest at the Mass. However, a priest may have multiple intentions at the Mass - he almost certainly does when he tells people "I will remember you in my prayers." However, there can be only one stipend given for an intention at a particular Mass. This ensures that the priest is not receiving multiple stipends for the same Mass.

3. Dioceses have different rules for Mass intentions.
a. Although Canon Law states that the offering amount should be set by the province (i.e. the group of dioceses in an area), some dioceses go it alone in setting their stipend. In general, stipends are $5 or $10.
b. The stipend goes directly to the priest as income when the Mass is said. But in some diocese a 'stoler', i.e. a gift or offering given for a sacrament (e.g. given to the priest by the couple being married) is kept by the priest. In other dioceses, it goes to the parish. In general, in the latter case, the base salary of the priest is higher to reflect the lost stipend income. Once upon a time, in many places, the stipend and stoler income was the only income of the priest.
c. A priest may receive only one stipend a day, even if he says multiple Masses. Dioceses have arrangements about where the other stipends go - usually to the retired priests' fund or something similar. This is designed to prevent a priest from saying multiple Masses in order to maximize his income.
d. A stipend offering is customary, but is not required. If someone cannot afford it, they should not be refused a Mass intention.

4. There is no requirement that the "Mass Intention" be mentioned in the bulletin or during the Prayer of the Faithful, although this is commonly done.

5. A priest (or parish or religious order) must say all masses within one year from the time they take the stipend. They must keep records of stipends received, Masses requested, and Masses said.

6. A priest or parish may "send" Mass intentions, and the related stipends, to another priest, parish, mission, or religious house. Many missionaries are supported by Mass stipends sent to them by parishes/priests/orders that have a surplus of intentions. The priest/parish/order should try to obtain the permissionof the donor/requester before this is done.

7. I don't know of any priests who are comfortable with the stipend system. Many would like to have it abolished, but the laity like it and find it comforting. Parish secretaries find it daunting to keep the accounts straight, and to get all the names spelled right in the bulletin.

8. The financial safeguards of this system (one stipend per day, accurate books, etc.) reflect the Council of Trent and the Catholic counter-reformation attempts to clean up the appearance of simony.

Author:  Custos [ Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:50 am ]
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I grew up referring to this as an "announced" mass. It was always thought to be the best thing to do for someone who had died. My mother always had masses said for her parents, and in fact many years ago had a difficulty with the IRS about the stipends -- she had claimed them as charitable contributions, and the IRS told her that they considered them to be gifts to the priest!! For my part, I have a mass said on the anniversary of my mother's death, and I have masses said for friends who die, or for the deceased relatives of my living friends. When possible I try to have the mass for those people said as a month's mind. What's a month's mind? Ahhh, that's another thread's topic....

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