Ray Ramos and his wife Eneida have been parishioners for many years. We celebrated Ray's life last Thursday with a Mass of Christian Burial. He was called the "Soup Man" by many who came to receive a free meal many years ago when we had a ministry that reached out to others who needed both food and companionship. The soup was donated by a local restaurant but was a bit bland so Ray would always spice it up so that everyone wanted the soup first! He was also called the "Pepper Man" since he had a garden of vegetables that he gave away free, and the garbage man always went to get some of Ray's peppers. But of course there was so much more to Ray and his wife and children will continue to remember & celebrate his life as we pray for him.
When we implement the new Mass schedule in January, that will eliminate 52 spots we have for weekend Mass intentions. So I want to use this opportunity to explain that ancient practice in the Catholic Church. Whenever we celebrate the Eucharist, we pray for the entire human race, those living as well as those who have died. Our prayer is never limited to one person or to one intention as it is universal. During the Mass itself, we have the "Universal Prayer" or the petitions that are offered for various people and intentions following the homily or the Creed. And then again, during the Eucharistic Prayer, after the consecration, we pray for the Pope, for the diocesan bishop, for clergy, for all of God's People, and for those who have died. So again, we pray for many people and intentions during the Mass.
That being said, there is value in "having a Mass celebrated" or "offered" for a particular person(s) or intention. Someone can approach a priest to make this request ("Father, please offer Mass for my brother who died") or, as is most often the case, people come to the rectory office and ask to schedule a Mass intention for a particular day and time. When requesting such an intention, it has become customary to make an offering which is given to the priest who celebrates that particular Mass. In the early Church, the faithful participating in the Eucharist provided the gifts necessary for the celebration (especially the bread and wine) as well as other gifts meant to support the clergy. In time, monetary offerings came to be substituted for bread and wine and these came to be known as "stipends." The customary offering is $10 per Mass. More on this next weekend. In the meantime, pray for the safety of all who will be in Cleveland this week for the National Republican Convention.