- What are Mass Intentions?
“Mass intentions refer to the particular purpose for which a specific Mass is offered.” (Catholicculture.org)
This tradition is closely linked with the concept of “communion with the saints,” that is, the Catholic teaching that all the faithful (including us here on earth, our brothers and sisters who are already in heaven, and those who are in Purgatory) form one community. When we ask a priest to offer a Mass for a deceased loved one, we do so as an expression of our belief in the communion of saints, as part of our acknowledgment that our loved one, although deceased, is still a member of the community of the faithful. Because it is ultimately an expression of communal faith in the Lord and in His promise of eternal life, the tradition of offering Masses for those who have died often brings some measure of comfort to the loved ones they left behind.
- When did the tradition of Mass Intentions start?
The tradition of offering Masses for others, especially for loved ones who have died, dates back to the very early Church. For instance, tombs in the Roman catacombs, dating back to the second century, bear inscriptions that request prayers for the repose of the person’s soul.
- For what intentions are Mass offered?
Masses are offered for many reasons: in thanksgiving to God, for someone who is sick, in remembrance of a loved one’s birthday or anniversary, and perhaps most frequently, in remembrance of a loved one who has passed away.