Here in the Archdiocese of Boston, many Catholics understand the immense value of requesting a Mass to be celebrated for themselves or their living or deceased loved ones. We thank those who choose to have these Masses said in the missions and, during this month dedicated to the Holy Souls, invite others to follow this tradition.
When a donation is made to The Propagation of the Faith for a Mass, a stipend is sent to the missions along with the name of the person or intention for whom the Mass is to be offered. Mission priests unite themselves and their congregations with you as a clear sign of our Church's universality in the Eucharist.
We regularly receive letters from mission bishops requesting Mass stipends to support their priests. Recently, we heard from Bishop Raymond Wickramasinghe of the Diocese of Galle, Sri Lanka, one of the largest and poorest dioceses in that country. Galle covers an area as large as the Archdiocese of Boston - over 2,100 square miles - and serves almost 10,000 Catholics. Twenty-five priests minister in Galle and none receive a salary.
While visiting Galle in 2016, I saw a tiny, rural chapel where five families gather to worship just four times a year. They sit outdoors during Mass because there is barely room for the priest and the Blessed Sacrament inside.
Bishop Raymond writes, "Parishes try to provide food, transport, and housing for their priests. His personal needs are to be supported by (local) Mass stipends. But, as most of the faithful are very poor, the priests are rarely asked to offer a Mass for a person or intention. Therefore, we turn to you."
This month, as we remember those gone before us, our thoughts also turn to the Thanksgiving season which reminds us of the great blessings we enjoy, even in these difficult times. It is a great time to honor our loved ones with a gift of a Mass celebrated for them in the missions, where daily needs are so much greater than our own.
By doing so, your loved ones and their intentions are remembered at a Mass offered for them. A priest in the missions will directly receive your offering enabling him to serve the people of God entrusted to his pastoral care. Finally, your loved ones will receive a beautiful card acknowledging your support of the spread of the Gospel in their name.
Please help us support priests in the missions by having Masses offered for your loved ones, yourself, or your intentions. Call 617-542-1776 or email email@example.com to arrange this precious gift.
- Maureen Crowley Heil is Director of Programs and Development for the Pontifical Mission Societies, Boston.
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