Bulletin Letter, Ordinary Time Sunday 29C
One of my responsibilities as a pastor is to offer one of the Masses on every Sunday and holy day of obligation for all the people of the parishes assigned to me. What we might not often consider is that the “people of the parishes” includes everyone who lives within the parish boundaries, whether they are Catholic or not, whether they are registered members here or elsewhere.
There is just one Church that Jesus founded upon the Apostles as the sacrament of salvation for all the world, the Mystical Body of Christ that continues down to our own day as the Catholic Church. The one perfect Sacrifice of Christ made present in every Catholic Mass was entrusted to His Apostles at the Last Supper to be regularly celebrated, continuing Christ’s work of redemption in the world today. The fruits of the Mass benefit everyone in the territory—and indeed the whole Church of God—and call down God’s blessings upon all the land.
Other Masses celebrated are offered for particular intentions, by request, and usually accompanied by a stipend or offering to the parish from the one requesting. These intentions are listed in the bulletin next to the schedule of Masses. I don’t always announce the intention, and it is not necessary to do so. Not everyone who requests a Mass wants the intention announced, and if the person being prayed for is still living, it can cause concern or confusion. There’s also the possibility of my reading the wrong line and announcing the wrong intention. Be assured that each Mass is offered for the intention listed in the bulletin, so please consult it if you prefer to know the particular intention.
Many who request Masses have certain dates or locations where they’d like the Mass offered. Melissa does her best to honor these requests, but it’s obviously very helpful for scheduling if there is some flexibility, especially if it includes a large number of Masses. The benefit of Christ’s Sacrifice reaches the intended parties regardless of the time or place of the Mass.
We should also keep in mind that Church law requires each requested intention to be fulfilled within one year from the date on which the request was made. If too many Masses are requested for us to fit in within the year, we have to send the remaining stipends to other priests (often retired) who will be able to offer the Masses in time. The standard suggested stipend for each Mass in this diocese is ten dollars, but a larger stipend can be offered for each Mass, especially when offering a large sum if there is concern for fitting them in within the year and keeping the full gift local to support the parish. Thank you for bearing patiently the limitations of having one priest between two parishes and three churches.