Do the intentions at Mass fulfill their purpose?

We started having that list of intentions at Mass right from the start when the Mass went from Latin to English.

I was in high school, and the intentions were written up by the student who was reading them. There was no prior approval or editing.

Back then, we prayed all the time for the end of the war in Viet Nam.

I haven’t studied the development of these over the years. But, I guess I’m referring a lot ot the “prayers of the faithful” on EWTN. There’s so much heavy-handed political correctness, starting at the top, praying for the pope, the bishops, blah blah blah, Mother Angelica, and then MAYBE there pops up a prayer intention for someone who is ill, and once in a great while, they pray for the benefactors of EWTN.

It really has become ritualized, and I don’t think it was intended to be like that.

We probably should list individually or collectively all those in the parish who are sick, those who are suffering in some way, and perhaps even mention specific and individual prayer requests.

I’m referring to the subject in general, with the emphasis on prayer for Mother Angelica as an example of these intentions gone to their worst extreme, as if there weren’t other people in critical condition or extremely dire emergency situations, who did not need prayer more than her.

the more I think about Mother Angelica, the more it confuses me. I don’t know of anybody in America who has had more prayers offered for them, than her. Is there such a thing as praying for someone too much? Is it disrespectful to God, to keep praying for Mother Angelica’s recovery, when God has apparently answered that request a long time ago? that God’s will has already plainly been revealed, i.e. that she is not going to recover?

I mean, there are people in Africa dying in droves from famine, military oppression, religious persecution, any number of diseases, etc. And, these are seldom if ever mentioned.

I think you need to revisit your attitudes here. I am shocked that you would begrudge Mother Angelica the prayers and attentions of her spiritual children. What kind of view of God are you betraying here? Its not as if He deprives one of grace and gives to another, on a whim, because they were included in a parish’s prayers. He is rich in mercy and sees all our needs, without our even having to ask. He also asks that we persevere in prayer, despite all odds, even to the point of associating Himself with the unjust judge in order to get this point across, so how can that be disrespectful?

The ‘Prayers of the Faithful’ are in the Extraordinary Form as well, only they are not so explicit. These prayers in Ordinary Form are the petitions brought to the holy Sacrifice of the Altar through the proximity of the priest. These prayer collect on him. He is the victim (the host).

In my personal, and probably worthless assessment, the ‘Prayers of the Faithful’ as a practice are in theory entirely unneccessary as again every confection of the Sacrament exercises the four petitions. My feelings could be clouding my judgement. I simply do not like the practice. It’s seems like a pastiche that Vatican II seeks to eliminate. I might add that I have actually heard a prayer of the faithful that said this when once driving across country and landing in an unknown parish, “We pray for all the apostate Catholics. Lord hear our prayer.” Wow! That’s something that would get you kicked off of Catholic Forums for sure. (moderators please don’t mind the fleeting swipe)

This is something I have wanted to learn more about myself but is beyond comprehension.

One might consider that we spend the whole of holy Mass supplicating holy Mary, Michael, the Baptist, Peter, and Paul, and the all the saints.

Is it “heavy-handed” and “politically correct” to pray for the Pope? and our bishops? Really???

To the contrary, the least we can do is to pray for the Vicar of Christ and his fellow bishops and all the clergy, as they have a great responsibility as shepherds of the flock.

It’s not as though the pool of grace is limited and prayers for one intention deprives another intention of grace. The prayer petitions are simply voicing the particular cares and concerns of this particular group of worshippers at this particular time. EWTN has a particular concern for it’s founder, Mother Angelica. Those who are sick and dying can always benefit from prayers, even if physical recovery is not likely.

The prayer petitions at other Masses will mention other concerns. In my parish, some petitions are always the same, such as we pray for the Pope and all the clergy; and some vary from time to time, such as we pray for victims of natural disasters, victims of war, those who have not heard the word of God, and for those who have no one to pray for them. We pray for political leaders to make wise decisions, for the sick of our parish, for a bountiful harvest (we live in a rural area), etc.

You are free to pray for your own petitions as well, to make up for any you feel need special mention that are not mentioned in the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass.

Please be generous in your outlook on the prayer petitions and be accepting of others praying as they feel called to do, just as you have intentions that you feel called to pray for.

You do know that one of the requirements for obtaining a plenary indulgence involves praying for the Pope and his intentions?

Gosh, I feel so silly…I pray for the pope, bishops, priests and religious every time I go to Mass. :rolleyes:

Your question is probably due to not knowing some things. Let me see if I can help.

The rules for the mass and the Divine Office is that the pope, bishops and the universal Church must always be included in some way or another. If you go through the breviary, sometimes it will specifically mention the pope and bishop and at other times, it will refer to the religious leaders and to the universal Church. They must also include the nation and the needs of the nation. You can make a general statement, “let pray for our country” or you can make it more specific.

In the Franciscan order you must always include the major superior. If the founder is still alive, the founder trumps the major superior. Mother Angelica is the foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Every Catholic who attends mass at a chapel or Church run by the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word will pray for her. It’s not something you can opt out. If you listen carefully, they are not praying for her recovery. They are praying for her needs, whatever those may be. God knows what they are.

In the Franciscan form the prayers of the faithful are scripted. They are put together by a commission. It is a manual that comes with the prayers of the faithful for each day of the year. Only the presider can change them.

If you were attending a mass at an Augustinian or Jesuit house or parish, you would be bound to follow their way of praying the mass. Most religious communities in the USA do not run parishes or public chapels. The are involved in apostolic work rather than parrochial ministry. To the average layperson, who witnesses a mass or the Divine Office in one of the forms of the religious orders, things seem a little odd.

Finally, if you attend mass at a parish or chapel run by a religious order you must submit to their form of praying the mass. Each religious order has its own rules. This goes back long before Vatican II. It goes back to Pope Pius V.


Br. JR, OSF :christmastree1:

I have a story that might explain my problem with the local prayers of the faithful. I was attending a weekday Mass once and the priest prayed for the healthcare bill to be passed. You know, the one from a few years ago with the individual mandate and such? That seems like a topic where Catholics can in good conscience disagree, yet I am supposed to pray for its passage? Just something to think about.

If he was praying for the passage of a just and fair healthcare bill, that would be in the handbook that the Church wants you to pray. If he just prayed for THIS healthcare bill, then he just added that. The presider has the right to add and delete anything he wants from the prayers of the faithful. These are not one of those parts of the mass that are static.


Br.JR, OSF :slight_smile:

The underlying intention of ALL prayers at Mass is (spoken or unspoken), “According to THY will.” Whether you agree with a specific intention or not, I assume that you want what God wants, therefore if you question or disagree with a particular intention simply pray that it comes to pass according to God’s will.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit