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About the Offering Made for the Celebration of Mass
This week I begin with Canon Law:
Canon 945: In accordance with the approved custom of the Church, any priest who celebrates or concelebrates a Mass may accept an offering to apply the Mass for a specific intention. It is earnestly recommended to priests that, even if they do not receive an offering, they celebrate Mass for the intentions of Christ’s faithful, especially those in need.
Canon 946:The faithful who make an offering so that Mass can be celebrated for their intention, contribute to the good of the Church, and by that offering they share in the Church’s concern for the support of its ministers and its activities.
Canon 947:Even the semblance of trafficking or trading is to be entirely excluded from Mass offerings.
Canon 952:The Bishops’ meeting is to determine by decree what offering is to be made for the celebration of and application of a Mass. It is permitted to accept an offering voluntarily made, which is greater or less than that which has been determined. [In Paris the amount is set at €17 but many people give more. Weekly I offer Mass for the intentions of all the parishioners – ‘Missa pro popolo’]]
This Canon Law is enough for now! Since its foundation, St Joseph’s Parish has been supported by the offerings of Parishioners and donations. This remains the case to this day. People support St Joseph’s through ADP (€) and Friends of St Joseph’s [$]. Over the years you have financially supported us daily. Recently, you enabled the purchase of new vestments, the installation of a new elevator, hand-rails for assisting entry and exit from the church and parvis, carpet cleaning and replacement, installation of a TV monitor in the Hall, maintenance of electricity system, some painting and many other works. Also, your magnificent support for the annual Lenten Project is a shining example of reaching out to those less fortunate. You have also been generous to us as the Passionist community at St Joseph’s. It is beyond my capacity to express sufficiently the thanks you deserve.
The Passionist Congregation also has expenses associated with St Joseph’s, Paris that cannot be paid from Parish funds. This is forbidden. Finances for the Passionists also come from you, e.g. the Christmas Mass collection and from each Mass offered by the priests here each morning and every weekend.
When you give a Mass offering for an intention it goes directly to the Passionists for the support and upkeep of the Passionists Community at St Joseph’s not due to be covered by parish funds.
Let me give you an example. If I am called to a meeting of the Passionists, say in Africa as happened last June, it would be unfair to ask the Parish to pay my travel and other expenses. When I travel, for example, to attend a funeral of a Passionist who served here at St Joseph’s in the past, the Passionists cover the cost. Holiday travel, insurance and expenses are paid for by the Passionists. This is in no way a complaint about the support for the parish but a statement of fact shared with you.
Until recently, a major part of expenses of the Passionists came from the daily and weekend Mass offerings. When no intention for a Mass had been requested by you, the offering for the Mass came from the Mass Intentions received from the Provincial Office of the Passionists in Dublin. Every few months I would request 200 Mass Intentions and the amount for each would be part of our income at St Joseph’s. In the past, there were more Mass Intentions coming from people in Passionist parishes and religious houses in Ireland and Scotland than could be offered in their churches in a reasonable time. These Mass intentions and offerings came to us to celebrate the Masses and to use the money for Passionists at St Joseph’s.
There are fewer Mass Intentions being requested in Ireland and Scotland. Now the Provincial Office of the Passionists in Dublin can no longer supply us with Mass Intentions and the offerings received for them. This will result in a big reduction of income for us in Paris but also gives us a new opportunity. Let me try to explain.
[Aidan Troy, C.P.]