Requesting Mass Intentions

Requesting that a Mass be Offered for a Particular Person or Cause

St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church accepts offerings for Mass intentions.  Those wishing to have a Mass said for a particular person or cause can come by the office or contact office at (361) 937-3864 for more information. 

St. Paul the Apostle Policies Regarding Mass Intentions

  • Suggested offering - $5.00 (but more or less is accepted) (make payable to St. Paul the Apostle)
  • The intention can be for a deceased person or a living person.  Does not need to be Catholic. 
  • The Intention can be for another need of the Church: i.e. world peace, vocations to the priesthood and religious life, conversion of sinners, etc.  In these types of intentions they should be “general” and not specific to an individual. 
  • A specific Mass time and date can be requested, but if that date is taken, the Mass will be assigned to the closest possible date of your choosing.   
  • If we have a backlog of requests, we may limit the number of Mass intentions a person can request. 
  • The Mass intention is usually mentioned during the prayers of the faithful, but even if it is not, the Mass if offered for the intention posted in the bulletin.
  • The published intention is the priest’s primary intention for that Mass.  If there are priests concelebrating, each priest may have his own intention.
  • Each member of the faithful may offer the Mass for his or her own intention.  The merits of the Mass are infinite. 

Those wishing to honor a loved one during the celebration of Mass may pick up Mass cards in the parish office.  Mass cards are available for the living and deceased and provide opportunities for prayerful remembrance of anniversaries, birthdays, and other special intentions.  Masses are usually booked at least several months in advance so if you have a particular date or time on which you want the Mass, it is very important that you call the parish office well ahead of time. 

What are Mass Intentions?

The sacrifice of the Mass has an infinite value and indeed there is no objective limitation to the number of intentions that can be offered at any Mass.  The Church, however, normally allows only one intention with a stipend united to each Mass.  In order to grasp the issues involved, it may help to realize what happens when a priest, or his representative, accepts a stipend to have a Mass said for a specific person or intention. The person who has offered the stipend has not purchased the grace of the Mass, a thing which is patently impossible.  What has happened is that the priest has committed himself to celebrate a Mass according to the intentions of the person making the offering.

This intention is quite often to recommend the soul of a deceased person but may also be for the personal intentions of the living.  In some cases the commitment is to ensure that the Mass is celebrated within a year, but frequently also involves other conditions such as a specific time or place for the Mass, especially to coincide with an anniversary of death or when the person requesting the Mass has great interest in personally participating in the celebration.

Once he has accepted the commitment the priest is bound in justice to fulfill it and may not normally accept or substitute other intentions for the same Mass.  The priest's intention is essentially a spiritual and internal act through which he commends the intention to God in a particular way even though he is free to offer up any number of other personal intentions, without stipends for the Sacrifice of the Mass is of Infinite Value.  He does not necessarily have to know the person for whom he is offering up the Mass. And in some cases — for example, if unaware of the customs of the church where he is celebrating — it is enough for him to know that an intention was requested and he celebrates the Mass according to the intention of the donor.

Sometimes, more people request Mass intentions at which they desire to attend than is compatible with parish schedules, a situation ever more common due to the lack of priests.  To address this desire, the Holy See has authorized bishops to allow the celebration of Masses with several intentions. These "cumulative" Masses can only be celebrated with the explicit permission of the local bishop.  At St. Paul the Apostle our "cumulative" mass each week is at the 7pm Wednesday Mass.  In this case the priest receives the stipend for one intention and the rest is sent to the diocese for the education of our seminarians.



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