May our school charge a $5 fee for prayer intentions?

I apologize in advance if this question is not appropriate in this forum.

Our Children attend a Catholic school and recently there has been a downturn in fundraising for the school. THis has caused a committee to be formed to look into new ways to raise money to meet our fundraising goals.

One of the “new” ways to raise money is by charging parents a $5 fee to include intentions for the monthly first Friday mass. At first, I was not that troubled as it reminded me of the votive candle fee. But after further inspection of the documents sent home to parents to announce this, It was disturbing to read that the committee has started this as solely a fundraising effort. Also the paper to write your intention on stated, “Please include your $5 with the intention to have it included in the May Mass.”

Needless to say I am very concerned that our Parish is using The First Friday Mass as a springboard for raising money for our school. Do you think I have a legitimate Gripe or am I overlooking something?

Thank YOu Very Much

Dear ps,

If people were free to make an offering if they choose to, then the practice would be alright. But actually charging a stated amount and demanding it in order for the prayer to be included is not allowed by the Church. This is simony: the selling of sacred things. The pastor should be reminded of this. If he doesn’t respond, then notify the bishop. This kind of thing can cause great scandal.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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