Faith/Spirituality Forum: Masses for deceased
Masses for deceased QUESTION from Rick on January 24, 2003 I have a hard time understanding, much less explaining, why Catholics offer specific masses for specific departed persons.
Please do not rehash the basics about purgatory and prayer for the dead. My concern is how a particular mass can be offered for a specific departed person. Does this mean it is not for anyone else? Does a mass offered for one person do more good than one offered for many? What is the special benefit for the named individual(s)? Wasn't Christ's sacrifice, which the mass re-presents, for all? What of the departed who have no one to arrange (and pay stipends for) this service?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on January 29, 2003 Dear Rick:
Masses for the dead are merely making a special prayer for that person. Masses also are said for all the dearly departed in the context of the intentions giving during Mass and, of course, an entire Feast Day is set aside for them -- All Souls Day on November 2nd. The general intentions in EVERY Mass for the departed and on the Feast of All Souls certainly do benefit those persons who may not have anyone to pray for them.
Indeed, all prayers are efficacious whether offered for all or for an individual
I presume, however, that you pray for specific individuals as well for the human race as a whole. Praying for one does not depreciated the prayer for the other.
Mass intentions of this sort is only a way to specifically pray for that person. However, the general prayers for the faithful, for the departed, and for the world are STILL included in the Mass the very same Mass.
It is not an either/or; it is a both.
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