Mass Stipends

What is a "Mass Stipend"? It is an offering given to a priest by an individual or a group so that he may say Mass for the donor's intention. This offering is usually a sum of money.

Does this person buy the Mass? By no means! No amount of money can buy the Mass. Rather it is an expression of the donor's desire to share in the fruits of the Mass. It is also an expression of his/her wish to help the Church to support her ministries. In short it is a way of supporting the clergy who work for the people for no pay.

The origin of this practice goes back to the early centuries of the Church. The faithful brought bread, wine and other gifts to the Mass. Some of the bread and wine was used during the celebration and what remained was used for the support of the clergy and the poor. Traces of this appear in (I Cor. 11:17 ff.)

Has the practice changed today? Not remarkably so, except it is now usually customary to offer money. The practice is regulated by Canon Law (cf The Code of Canon Law, Canons 945-958) It state, "The faithful who make an offering so that Mass can be celebrated for their intentions, contribute to the good of the Church, and by that offering they share in the Church's concern for the support of its ministries and activities."

This is a great way to offer intention for the dear departed. If you care to know the current Mass stipends in your diocese, please consult your Parish.

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