I know that Masses are offered for the deceased… but can they be also offered for a living person? how would you go around asking a priest to offer a Mass for someone? and do they have to be Catholic, can they be a non believing friend, relative, etc?
Read this section of the Canon from the Extraordinary Form. It is a prayer in which the priest prays for the living:
P. Therefore, most gracious Father, we humbly beg of You and entreat You through Jesus Christ Your Son, Our Lord. Hold acceptable and bless + these gifts, these + offerings, these + holy and unspotted oblations which, in the first place, we offer You for your Holy Catholic Church. Grant her peace and protection, unity and guidance throughout the worlds, together with Your servant (name), our Pope, and (name), our Bishop; and all Orthodox believers who cherish the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.
P. Remember, O Lord, Your servants and handmaids, (name) and (name), and all here present, whose faith and devotion are known to You. On whose behalf we offer to You, or who themselves offer to You this sacrifice of praise for themselves, families and friends, for the good of their souls, for their hope of salvation and deliverance from all harm, and who offer their homage to You, eternal, living and true God.
Then you have this, in which the priest prays for the dead:
P. Remember also, Lord, Your servants and handmaids (name) and (name) who have gone before us with the sign of faith and rest in the sleep of peace. To these, Lord, and to all who rest in Christ, we beg You to grant of Your goodness a place of comfort, light, and peace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
For some very strange reason I have a sentence in my head that I thought was attributed to Padre Pio “One Mass offered (or it could be heard piously) for you in life, is better than many offered for you after death.”
Can anyone verify that this is a valid quote? I can’t find anything about it online but have it in my head for some reason.
I’ve been to Masses which were offered for living people who were ill or about to undergo surgery etc.
The only problem with having a mass for a living person in a parish is that you often have to wait a long time for the mass to be said. If the person is having surgery soon then the mass won’t be said in time. In our parish we have no more announced masses for all of the rest of 2009 and you can’t get one in 2010 until July. You can get an unannounced mass but you don’t know when it will be said. Often intentions for unannounced masses are sent to the senior priest residence and you never know when they will say the mass. Some are also sent to the missions.
Our parish is smaller, and for some reason it is very easy to have Masses said. I have had Masses said for the birthdays of our children, our parents, my children’s godparents, our godchildren, etc. All still alive. My thinking (maybe I borrowed it from Padre Pio) is that if there are Masses said for them while they are alive, maybe they won’t need so many when they are dead. I’ve had some said for my ex-Catholic stepson, etc.
Mass can be offered for anyone, living or deceased, Catholic or not. And generally, one does not request this of the priest, but goes instead to the parish office for a “Mass card.” At that point, the secretary will ask you whether it’s for a living or deceased person. Then you ask the amount of the offering, and the secretary will take your information and your offering and set a date for you. Then you should receive a greeting card type thing with the name of the person for whom the Mass is to be offered, possibly the date, and the name of the parish. You can send this card to the person, or in the case of the deceased, to the family.
At our EF Mass, when Mass is offered for a living person, the chaplain announces that "Mass is being offered for the health and salvation of …"
Before I started attending the EF, I would occasionally be able to have an OF Mass said for someone living, so it is possible in either form of the Mass.