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Honoring our Loved Ones

One of the great spiritual practices we Catholics have is the ability to request a Mass Intention, which is a spiritual gift we give to someone who has died (and to their loved ones) by remembering that person in a special way at a Mass. The power in this gift comes not only from the value of naming aloud the people who have had an impact on us and on our

community, but also because we know that during the praying of the Eucharistic Prayer at

Mass, time and eternity meet. In these moments, our union with those who have died is

tremendously present and poignant.

The Mass Intention tradition goes back to early Church days and began as a simple way to keep a promise to pray for someone who was deceased and stay connected with them. Along with asking the priest to keep that particular person in mind during the celebration came the tradition of making a small donation to the parish at the time of the request. At some points in history, this donation made up a significant portion of the priest’s salary. Today those donations still contribute somewhat toward the priest’s salary, but we rely on them much less than we used to. In fact, Church law states that a priest can receive no more than $15 in total for Mass intentions in any one day. Any donations made above $15 go into a bulk Mass Stipend account, which is administered by the parish.

Mass Intentions are a well-loved spiritual practice in Glens Falls. After every weekend Mass,

parishioners request these at the Welcome Desk, and we have lots of requests on our parish

website and parish office, as well.

You may have noticed in the past several months that the list of the names of deceased loved

ones read aloud during the “Prayer of the Faithful” at Mass has grown longer than it ever was before. That’s because when I arrived as your pastor, we decided that ALL the names of people being remembered at each weekend and weekday Mass for the entire upcoming week would be included in those prayers, so that everyone at all the weekend Masses would be able to pray for them. There are good reasons for doing that and, all in all, it is not a bad idea.

I have heard from a growing number of people, however, that it might be time for us to make some changes to our weekend procedures so that list can be a bit shorter for a couple of good reasons. For one, because it’s important to try to pronounce each name accurately and reverently, a long list of names can be a cause of anxiety for a deacon or a lector. Also, a large volume of names also means that each individual name has less attention paid to it by the praying assembly. Perhaps this is one of those instances where quality matters more than quantity.

So soon we will experiment with reading the names that are being remembered at each

particular Mass separately from the whole list of names being printed in the bulletin that week. That will allow the names of those people being remembered at that particular Mass to ring out a bit more distinctly. It will also make it easier for the deacon or the lector to attend to each name and pronounce it reverently and accurately.

This change at St. Mary’s will be subtle, but hopefully it will help our weekend experience

become even better. Each Sunday, when you hear the names of our beloved dead read aloud,

pray for them and remember that each name is connected to a grieving person who made the request and needs us to pray for them, too.

One with you in faith,

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