I want to use this week’s Pastor’s Note to summarize the current procedure I have in place regarding requests for Masses to be offered for specific intentions.

At present I handle all of the Mass requests myself and keep the Mass Books in my office. We receive your Mass requests variously from envelopes dropped off at the parish office, envelopes deposited together with the Sunday Offertory, phone messages, letters or parish emails. Once the request gets to me, if the request is for a public announced Mass I enter it into the parish’s Daily Mass Record: if, however, it is for an unannounced Mass, I either fit it into the Daily Mass Record as a Mass Intention of the Donor or I send it on to be said by a priest elsewhere. Fr. Salako has indicated to me that Mass stipends from here would be very helpful for the support of his missionaries.

The custom of the faithful asking for Masses to be offered for their specific intentions and of giving a modest offering for the priest who celebrates it is a praiseworthy one. The requested Mass stipend (offering) for a Mass is set in the Archdiocese of Boston at $10, whether the Mass be announced or unannounced. A priest is allowed to receive 1 Mass stipend a day ($10). If he says more than one stipend-Mass on a given day, he is not allowed to receive those further offerings. They are directed instead to the support of the church in other areas. Any offering amounts we may receive in excess of the $10 stipend for a requested Mass are treated as donations to our parish.

We have many public Masses each week at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes and we are, for the most part, able to accommodate the Mass intention requests we receive. In order to do this, however, we have to make use of the provision Cardinal Seán has allowed for up to two parish Masses per-week being reserved as “Collective Intention” Masses. These two Masses are the Sunday 10:30 AM Latin Mass and the Saturday 9:00 AM Latin Mass. We are a parish church with a single resident parish priest: we are not a shrine with several priests offering Masses, nor do we have connections with any Traditional Latin Mass group to take on any of our Latin Mass-only Mass intention requests which we are unable to satisfy in a timely fashion here. (The requested stipends for Traditional Latin Mass communities are $20 or more in many places, so we cannot simply send them on as we do with the S.M.A. Fathers.) 

There are particular Mass times each week which are always reserved hence unavailable for any other Mass-intention request. These are the Sunday 7:30 AM Pro Populo and the Monday 7:30 AM Purgatorial Society of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes. Also, I am now reserving the Holy Day Masses for Pro Populo and the Holy Day Intention of the Parish. THIS INCLUDES THE MASSES OF CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS DAY. If someone requests an intention for one such unavailable Mass, I will include their request as a Memento (secondary intention) at that Mass but book the stipend Mass intention itself at the nearest available date.

With regard to our Mass intention request procedures the following pointers might be helpful:  

  • Please write a contact phone number or email address on the Mass intention envelope in case we have any questions about the request.
  • The Mass Card station set up in the vestibule of the rectory is for your convenience, so that you can choose a Mass card and make a request even when the office is closed on Sundays. It is presumed that a card is being chosen at the same time a Mass request is being placed. I ask that people not “stockup” with Mass cards to bring home and then use as the occasion demands. This causes us to have to replenish our inventory more than we otherwise would have to, and it increases the risk that the eventual giver of the Mass card might forget to actually have the Mass said!
  • I reserve the right to decide if the request for an announced Mass intention is inappropriate for a public Mass: it may be too personal, too expressive of a person’s opinions on divisive “issues of the day”, too likely to cause misunderstanding or admiratio (i.e., attracting undue attention), etc. In such case I will list the Mass in the bulletin as Intention of the Donor.
  • With multiple Mass requests at once, unless they indicate specific future dates, if they all cannot be satisfied here at the parish in a timely manner, I will send the remaining stipends to Fr. Salako’s S.M.A. Mission.

I hope that this summary of our Mass Intention procedures will clarify how it all “works” within our parish office. 

Fr. Higgins

About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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