Pope Francis has condemned the trend to ask parishioners for a financial contribution in order to have Mass for a loved one, saying that to make a personal offering is fine, but the liturgy should never have a price tag.
The Pontiff spoke today during his general audience this week as part of his ongoing catechesis on Mass and the Eucharist, saying, “If I have someone who is in need, relatives and friends, I can name them in that moment, internally in silence.”
However, alluding to the fact that it’s common in many parishes for faithful to pay for a Mass to be offered for a specific person, Francis asked, “how much should I pay to have my name written there [in Mass]?”
“The Mass,” he said, “is not paid for, redemption is free. If you want to make an offering okay, but the Mass cannot be paid for.”
In his address, the Pope said the Eucharistic Prayer is “the central moment” of the Mass, anticipating the reception of Communion, adding that during this prayer, the Church “expresses what she does when she celebrates the Eucharist and the reason why she celebrates it, which is to make communion with Christ truly present in the consecrated bread and wine.”
After inviting Mass-goers to lift their hearts up to the Lord and to give thanks, the priest recites the Eucharistic Prayer, directing it to God on behalf of everyone present, Francis said. The meaning of this prayer, he added, is that “the entire assembly of faithful unites with Christ to magnify the great works of God in offering the sacrifice”.
After his address, Pope Francis made an appeal for parishes around the world to join him in participating in this week’s ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ event, which will take place on March 9 and is a worldwide initiative launched in 2014 to highlight Confession as a primary way to experience God’s mercy.
Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency