How do you have a Mass said for someone?

Hi All,

I converted to the Roman Catholic Church last Easter. I’d like to have a Mass said for some folks but don’t know the protocol to set it up. Should I just ask my priest? Does it matter if some of the folks weren’t Catholic? Is it customary (or required) to make a donation and if so, how much? I’m sure there are other details I need to know, but don’t know enough to ask.

Any insights would be helpful.


Just drop by the parish office and say you’d like to have a Mass celebrated for someone. No, it doesn’t matter if they weren’t Catholic.

If it’s someone who has recently died and you’d like the family to know you are having the Mass celebrated, you can tell them you need a card. Otherwise they will just record the name in the Mass register and the date if you request a specific day/Mass time.

Yes, a donation is customary but the priest must celebrate the Mass you request even if you can’t afford to give anything. Each diocese sets a limit for that donation. If someone asks me what the donation is I cannot ask for more than $10, that’s the limit set by the diocese. People are free to give more, we can’t ask for more.

Some priests never accept anything for celebrating a Mass (my military chaplain comes to mind) but others depend on Mass stipends to make ends meet depending on the parish’s situation.

Phemie nailed it. Some parishes won’t accept the request unless you are a registered member.

If you are in a parish where the priest is always busy and overworked, I would suggest donating more if you can do so without burden. Priests work really hard. My parish has three official priest and many more unofficial parish priest, yet I’m told our pastor works approximate 12 hours/day and 6 days/week.

The donation does not make it more special, it is just a chance for a priest to maybe get himself a nicer meal, help with church repairs, or support charity work if the priest so chooses.

If on the other hand, you cannot donate anything, don’t worry about it. Your need offers the priest and those who work with him the opportunity to do works of mercy by joyously helping you. :slight_smile:

In our parish you might have to wait for a year to have the Mass offered, that is how many requests we get for masses. We have some people who come in with a list of 25-35 names for Masses. We had one man who got $1300 worth of masses for 2011 and we couldn’t give him all the dates he wanted.

If I don’t need a card I usually get them said by the Missionaries of Africa. [It may be possible to get a card from them. I haven’t inquired.] Their missionaries are provided with basic food and shelter. For anything more they rely on their mass stipends. I have a lot of friends and relatives who no longer practice their faith, as well as many friends who are not Catholic. I am slowly working my way through my list at 2 or 3 names per month.

I found your post interesting. When I went to my local parish to schedule a Mass offering, I had $10 from an out of state family friend who wanted me to schedule a Mass from her to be said for my deceased mother. Upon presenting the $10 I was told their “fee” was $15. “Fee” their word not mine. But after adding the additional $5 I checked around and discovered $10 was the norm at other churches. And when the $15 church publicly opened its Mass book for this yr in their bulletin it specifically said the donation required was $15.

See Canon Law 945-958 on this subject,especially Canon 952

Can. 952 §1. It is for the provincial council or a meeting of the bishops of the province to define by decree for the entire province the offering to be given for the celebration and application of Mass, and a priest is not permitted to seek a larger sum. Nevertheless, he is permitted to accept for the application of a Mass a voluntary offering which is larger or even smaller than the one defined.
§2. Where there is no such decree, the custom in force in the diocese is to be observed.
§3. Members of all religious institutes must also observe the same decree or local custom mentioned in §§1 and 2.

Joe, so are you and Canon Law saying in my situation I described in my earlier post, $15 may be the max allowed in my diocese. Other parishes can ask for less. A parish can accept less but are not required to?

That would seem right, but it seems strange that all but one parish would suggest less than that authorized. $10 seems standard in most places, though I knew a few who were suggesting only $5 a few years ago. The Missionaries of Africa, who I mentioned before suggest $10; so I think that is probably the most popular figure.

One might innocently inquire of the diocese for the reason for the differing practices. I wouldn’t quote law or anything, just be innocently puzzled by the situation.

Well my diocese has a lot of parishes. $10 does seem the norm as you suggested. But I can’t say I inquired at every single parish. Thank you for your help. Have a most blessed Holy Week.

Sorry I feel as though the 10 or 15 is going to a good place and we should see it as part of our tithing. I just can’t see why that 5 dollars matters. These priests work so hard we likely need to work on our generosity.

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I pay the basic fees when I’m at the parish office setting up the Masses, but the day of the Mass I also give Father an envelope with more, along with a thank you card.

amsjj :slight_smile:

Jesus, God and man,
imprisoned by love in Thy most holy Sacrament,
have mercy upon us.

  • Blessed John Henry Newman, December 22, 1851

Tú y yo sabemos por la fe que oculto en las especies sacramentales está Cristo,
ese Cristo con su Cuerpo, con su Sangre, con su Alma, y con su Divinidad,
prisonero de amor.

  • San Josemaría Escrivá, 1 junio 1974

… Our Lord Himself frequently said; and it is recorded as an Apostolic tradition from Him
by St. Justin the Martyr. He says ‘Jesus often said, “They who are near Me are near a

“Make the suggested donation” might be a better way of stating that.