Vatican City, Mar 7, 2018 / 03:24 am
On Wednesday Pope Francis issued a harsh critique of the trend to ask parishioners for a financial contribution in order to have Mass said for a loved one, saying that to make a personal offering is fine, but the liturgy should never have a price tag.
“If I have someone who is in need, relatives and friends, I can name them in that moment, internally in silence,” he said, referring to the moments of silence during the Eucharistic Prayer recited in Mass.
However, he also discussed the practice in many parishes of asking the faithful to pay, usually somewhere around 10 dollars, for a Mass to be offered for a specific person.
“The Mass,” he said, “is not paid for, redemption is free. If you want to make an offering, okay, but the Mass cannot be paid for.”
Francis spoke off-the-cuff during his March 7 general audience, which this week centered on the Eucharistic Prayer as part of his ongoing catechesis on Mass and the Eucharist.
In his address, the Pope said the Eucharistic Prayer is “the central moment” of the Mass, anticipating the reception of Communion.
During this prayer, he said, the Church “expresses what she does when she celebrates the Eucharist and the reason why she celebrates it, which is to make communion with Christ truly present in the consecrated bread and wine.”
After inviting Mass-goers to lift their hearts up to the Lord and to give thanks, the priest recites the Eucharistic Prayer, directing it to God on behalf of everyone present, Francis said. The meaning of this prayer, he added, is that “the entire assembly of faithful unites with Christ to magnify the great works of God in offering the sacrifice.”