Letting someone know of a Mass Intention


I was hoping to ask a priest this but I hope others are able to give me an answer as time is of the essence. Is it correct to let a person know you are having a Mass said for them? I love them but I don’t wish it to seem that I am letting them know in order to ingratiate myself although I wonder if they would appreciate knowing. I feel I’m struggling between knowing what is selfless and selfish here.

My many thanks in advance!


I would not because I would not know how they would react. If I was sure that they would welcome this, then I would tell them if they would not see it in the bulletin.


You can. But it’s not necessary.


Thanks Ann, much appreciated. In my family it is fairly normal to hear one person say to another, “I’ve had a Mass said for your mother/father” (usually deceased) or on the occasion of an anniversary of one description or another for those even alive.

To elaborate slightly, tomorrow is their birthday and so I thought it was a good reason; they could do with the graces and whatever other help but I don’t wish to omit that I do like the person in question and thus it may seem self-serving as mentioned earlier. My understanding of proper Love is when it is selfless.

Thanks again.


You are selfless. I come from a Catholic family that dislikes the Church. I pray for them, but do not tell them. I pray for them when they are dead. I am sure they will be happy to know that you had a Mass said for them. I wish there were more like you.


The Parish where you have the mass said will offer to send a Mass Card to the person for whom you are having the Mass said. You can say no, it is really up to you.

Some parishes list in the bulletin for whom the masses will be said over the upcoming week, more and more bulletins are published on the internet. Other parishes announce the intention at the beginning of Mass, some priests say the name in the Eucharistic prayers. If you feel that the person will be upset that you have a mass said for them, ask the parish to list it as “private intention”.

It may be the case that people would be sad they did not know the mass was being said for them/their loved one because they would have liked to attend that mass.


Thanks TheLittleLady. I’m only too familiar with the process, I was really asking for perspective on whether letting them know of the intention was the done thing.

I’m located in London, intentions are mentioned at the start of services and the person in question is not here but I intended on sending them well-wishes tomorrow in any case as it is their birthday.


Thanks again Ann, that’s very kind of you indeed. Allow me to extend my sympathy to you and your family situation. I have siblings who are lapsed and would be indifferent to the idea of Mass intentions being said for them—probably embarrassed in fact, but perhaps that’s all the more reason for it.

Keep them in your prayers no matter what the situation—every soul matters.


When you request a Mass intention for someone, the parish secretary (or other office staff) will give you a Mass card with envelope you can mail or hand deliver to the person the intention is for… The card will have the date and time of the Mass, usually with the Pastor’s name included. You would normally give a donation of $10 for the Mass intention.at the time of the request.


Thanks glorybe. I think things are done slightly differently here (never known a Mass card to be given out—not sure what one would look like either) I understand the protocol etc., my question was on disclosure of the intention.


Where I live they can give you a card for that.


Where I live, they usually don’t give Mass cards. Of all the places I’ve requested Masses in France, I’ve only received a Mass card at Notre-Dame in Paris and at the Shrine in Lourdes.

Note that I haven’t requested Masses in every French diocese. Not even close!

As far as telling the person one has requested a Mass for (or that person’s family, if the person him- or herself is deceased), I believe that’s up to the individual’s discretion. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It depends upon the circumstances. There’s nothing wrong with telling them, but there is also nothing wrong with keeping it to oneself.


By way of an update, I informed them I was having a Mass offered for them—it was warmly received.

I think I may have mislead some of you with the original post; it was a question on what perception would be given when told a Mass was being said for them, given that I think fondly enough of the person. Anyway, thanks for the replies.

God bless all.


Varies by situation.


I have Masses said for MANY people and they never know about it. I’d rather not tell them. It’s something I can do for them but they don’t have to feel obligated to thank me or anything.


I only let people know if I know they will be happy and receptive to hear that I had a Mass said for them.

Otherwise, I just have the Mass said for them and keep it to myself.


Yes, it could be different in different parishes. I just retired as a parish secretary and gave out mass cards several times a day, every day… all those intentions were included in the weekly bulletin. I’ll say that if someone requested a mass for me, I’d very much like to know about it.

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