Background on Mass Intentions
Whenever a priest celebrates Mass, he has at least two specific intentions. The first intention is to celebrate the Mass according to what the rubrics that the Church was provided for how to say the Mass. The second is to apply the grace of that Mass toward a specific need or intention. As to the first intention, a priest may find it helpful to pray a traditional prayer while he is vesting, stating his intention to pray the Mass well. As to the second intention, commonly called “the intention of the Mass,” that intention is often announced in the parish bulletin at least one week before, and then it is sometimes also announced at Mass.
These special intentions are offered to God as prayers of intercession and thanksgiving. In and through the Eucharist, we pray for the deceased, for those who are ill, for those who face various difficulties or challenges. Often, people request a Mass in thanksgiving for God’s grace helping them through a particularly challenging time of life. It is important to note that, while the graces of the Mass being infinite, many intentions can be offered up at a single Mass. While a priest may only accept one intention at a single Mass, he may have many other intentions not attached to an offering. In addition, the faithful may bring their own intentions to the Mass, which they each carry privately and place upon the altar spiritually in prayer.
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