St Augustine recorded the dying wishes of his mother, St Monica in his Confessions, "One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of he Lord wherever you may be."
Given this understanding, we can add some specifics. When a priest offers Holy Mass, he has 3 intentions: First, to offer the Mass reverently and validly in accord with the norms of the Church. Second, to offer the Mass in union with the whole Church. Third, to offer the Mass for a particular intention, such as the repose of the soul of someone who has died. We find not only the origins of this practice dating to the early Church but we also clearly recognize its importance
When we face the death of someone, even a person who is not Catholic, to have a Mass offered for the repose of his soul and to offer our prayers are more beneficial and comforting than any other sympathy card or bouquet of flowers. To have a Mass offered on the occasion of a birthday, anniversary or special need is appropriate, beneficial and appreciated. Usually a stipend is given to the priest for offering the Mass, which thereby in justice creates an obligation which must be satisfied.
The customary offering is $10. These offerings go to the special Parish Mass Stipend account and then the money is turned over to the parish as the Mass Intentions are fulfilled.
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