Dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,
Each time we offer the sacrifice of Holy Mass we do so for a particular intention. This Mass Intention is provided by one of you, and the priest directs his prayers at that Mass for that particular intention. While each of us are encouraged to bring our prayer intentions to every Mass, the tradition of having the priest offer Mass for a particular intention goes back to the very earliest days of the Church, particularly Masses offered for those who have recently died. We can offer memorial Masses for our deceased loved ones, even if they were not Catholic themselves. We also have Masses for Vocations (the first Thursday of each month in Otter Tail County), for good harvests, for protection from war, natural disasters, or other dangers, and for almost any other intention you can imagine. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is our most powerful act of prayer and the fullest expression of our faith. We, the Body of Christ, the Church, participate in the self-offering of Jesus Christ, our Head, for the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of souls.
As a matter of course, one of the Masses each Sunday and Holy Day is dedicated to all the needs of the people in our parishes; we call this the Mass pro populo (for the people); all the other Masses are available for you to provide your intentions. At Holy Cross and St. Henry’s we try to include the Mass intention in the petitions or announce it just before the Offertory (preparation of gifts). Sometimes, because the intentions are private or to avoid a long explanation of the intention, I will simply list it as a “special intention.” Even if we neglect to mention the intention, the prayers of the Mass are still offered for the assigned intention. Even if the priest or lector would announce the wrong intention, God still accepts the prayers for the proper intention; God is not confused, even when we are!
Because of the large number of requests we receive for Masses at St. Henry’s, we do set limits for the number of Masses we can schedule here at a given time. These limits are included in this week’s bulletin insert (on lavender paper). Please note that Masses beyond our local limit can be offered at Holy Cross and other neighboring parishes which may be in need of intentions for their calendar. We do this to allow for the celebration of Masses for your intentions as soon as possible, but at least within a year of your request. Many of these Mass intentions can be sent to our sister Diocese in Homa Bay, Kenya, where the parishes can benefit greatly from the modest stipend we request ($10/Mass is suggested). Even if you are unable to provide a stipend for your requested intention we will still honor your request. The $10 stipend is a recommendation established by our Diocese of Saint Cloud.
If you would like us to offer Mass for a particular intention, please contact us at either parish office. Each celebration of the Holy Mass is an efficacious participation in Christ’s saving work. May our humble offerings be joined with the prayers of the whole Church for the salvation of souls and the sanctification of the whole world.
Peace in Christ,
Father Matthew Kuhn