Can one Mass be offered for the repose of more than one soul?

My home parish answers that question with a resounding “No.” According to my home parish, each Mass may be offered for the repose of only one soul. (Only one Mass card is made available for each Mass that is celebrated.) According to a neighboring parish, however, a Sunday Mass can be offered for the repose of up to 3 different souls. (Up to 3 Mass cards are made available for each Sunday Mass that is celebrated.) Suffice it to say, I often have to go to a neighboring parish in order to have a Mass offered for someone. Both of these parishes are in the same diocese. Both parishes claim they are acting properly. Who is right?

Thank you.

Both are incorrect.

A Mass intention is not defined by the number of names but by the expressed wishes of the individual who provided the Mass stipend for the intention.

When canon law speaks of a priest accepting only one intention per Mass it is a reference to the offering/stipend he receives (canon 948). If a priest has received a stipend for an intention then he must apply a separate Mass for that intention (with the exception of special circumstances) . However that intention may include as many names as the donor desires. As the Canon Law Society of America’s commentary notes: “Although the donor’s intention can include more than one person, only one offering can be taken.”

How many Mass cards are handed out is not governed by any law. The parish is under no obligation to even distribute a single Mass card. So though they may give you only one Mass card you are free to include as many names as you choose for that Mass intention. Mass intentions are also not required to be mentioned out loud at Mass. Simply printing them in the bulletin suffices, so the parish would be within its rights to have a policy that it will not announce within the Mass intentions with more than one, two, or three names but the priest must still offer Mass for the intention.

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