What is a good amount to give a priest in exchange for saying a Mass for a loved one or for yourself?

Hi everyone. What would be a good amount of money to give to a priest for saying a Mass for yourself or for a loved one? I am thinking about having a Mass said for myself (is that even permissible?) and was wondering what would be a good amount to give? :shrug::confused:

I think the fee is usually set by the diocese. It just raised from five dollars to ten dollars several months ago in this diocese.

It’s not so much of an exchange, as it is called a stipend. In our diocese, it is $5, although my dad’s former parish raised it to $10.

Something to remember is what my parochial vicar told me. When we request that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass be offered for a particular intention, a certain personal sacrifice on our part is required. This sacrifice entails giving a stipend.

Thanks for that answer benedictgal. I was thinking about posting a question here about giving money for a mass to be said. It sort of felt funny “paying” for a mass, but your explanation makes sense.

This explanation by Archbishop Buchlein also explains stipends well.

Mass stipends are a gift voluntarily offered to God out of love
We often describe the Eucharist as the most important, the most perfect and efficacious Christian prayer.

It is a prayer offered to God not merely by the priest acting in the person of Christ and in the name of the Christian community, but by priest and community acting together.

The fact that the ordained priest performs certain functions which only he is ordained to perform at the Eucharist does not mean that the various ways in which the entire assembly participate are unimportant or “don’t count.”

It did not take very long in the early development of the ritual celebration of the Mass for Christians to seek some way to show the connection between the offering of Christ and our material creation.

Early on, members of the Christian community would bring food or coins which they could offer along with the bread and wine at the eucharistic celebration. These Mass offerings, the goods and monies that all along had been given for use of the Church, were gradually drawn into the liturgical action and joined to the offering of the Eucharist.

Gifts of the community to the Church and to the poor were considered gifts made to God. The offerings served many purposes: provisions of bread and wine for the sacrifice; supplies, e.g. candles needed for worship; sustenance for the clergy; and support for the mission to the poor. These offerings were a tangible way in which the Christians participated in the offering of the Eucharist, and they also expected to share in God’s grace for the community in some special way.

Over the centuries, as we know, offerings of money gradually took the place of gifts “in kind.” Today we have collections and the annual United Catholic Appeal and even capital campaigns.

We also received the tradition of offering stipends when we wish to request the celebration of a Mass for a particular intention or for a deceased loved one. That tradition of stipends or offerings continues, and once in awhile it is important to remind ourselves about the meaning of this practice.

Clearly, when we offer a stipend we are not “buying” a Mass. Nor are we “buying” special grace from God through the prayers of the priest. Every Eucharist is offered for all the community of faith, even as we pray especially for a given intention.

It is also important to keep in mind that one is not obliged to make an offering, especially if one does not have the means to do so, if making an offering would be a hardship. The stipend today, as it always has been, is a gift offered to God as the Eucharist is offered by the priest along with the community of faith.

Mass stipends, then, are not a price one pays so that the celebrant administers and distributes God’s graces placed at his disposal. The request for a special intention is a petition that both priest and community specially unite with the Church’s offering of Christ to the Father. The stipend is a material way to add to that spiritual offering of Christ to the Father.

Since 1965 in the dioceses of Indiana, the customary voluntary Mass offering has been $5. (I noticed that in a column in the Lafayette diocesan weekly in which he wrote about this topic, Bishop William Higi figured out that at the rate of inflation since 1965 that $5 amount would be $31 today.)

For several years now, most dioceses around the country have suggested that the stipend would normally be $10. Recently, the bishops of the dioceses in Indiana approved $10 as the suggested stipend for a Mass.

I am asking that this change in suggested Mass stipend become the norm in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis beginning on Oct. 1. All $5 stipends offered prior to that date will be offered as previously requested.

Once again, I want to stress that it is not obligatory to offer a stipend for the celebration of a Mass. Mass stipends are intended to be a material way of offering our gifts to God as an act of love. God does not demand a price for his generous love.

When we reflect about the virtue of Christian stewardship, we often describe it as our desire to return gratitude to God for the gifts we have received. In fact, we acknowledge that everything we have ultimately comes from God.

In one of the weekday prefaces for the celebration of Mass, as we are offering thanks, we proclaim, “You have no need of our praise, yet our desire to thank you is itself your gift. Our prayer of thanksgiving adds nothing to your greatness, but makes us grow in your grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” †

Believe it or not, there is a actually some scriptural justification for this in the first Book of Maccabbees. Recall that when the Maccabbees won the battle, Judas Maccabbees found out that some of his dead soldiers were wearing what amounted to pagan amulets. This was considered a sin in Ancient Israel (just like it is today for the New Israel–the Church). Judas Maccabbees took up a collection and gave it to the Levitical priests so that they could offer a sacrifice of expiation for their dead comrades. Not only does this give scriptural basis for our praying for the dead (it was considred a holy and pious act to do so, per Maccabbees), but, it also serves as justification for the Mass stipend.

Thanks for the replies. That certainly gives me a new perspective on the matter of offering money for a mass being said. And sorry to the OP if I high jacked this thread.

Ok, thanks for the advice everyone!

As to how much, I’ve seen anywhere from $5 to $25 as the suggested amount. ($25 was in a wealthy parish with few masses; $5 is pretty nominal.

Give at least the stipend asked for if you can afford to. If you feel like it, add more.

When I “overpaid”, a weeklong candle intention (which has a suggested stipend equal to the amount I went over) was added by the pastor.

I don’t see any errors in what has been said here. However, for completeness for those interested I will add that Canon Law Specifies:

Can. 945 §1. In accord with the approved practice of the Church, any priest celebrating or concelebrating is permitted to receive an offering to apply the Mass for a specific intention.
§2. It is recommended earnestly to priests that they celebrate Mass for the intention of the Christian faithful, especially the needy, even if they have not received an offering.
Can. 946 The Christian faithful who give an offering to apply the Mass for their intention contribute to the good of the Church and by that offering share its concern to support its ministers and works.
Can. 947 Any appearance of traYcking or trading is to be excluded entirely from the offering for Masses.
Can. 948 Separate Masses are to be applied for the intentions of those for whom a single offering, although small, has been given and accepted.
Can. 949 A person obliged to celebrate and apply Mass for the intention of those who gave an offering is bound by the obligation even if the offerings received have been lost through no fault of his own.
Can. 950 If a sum of money is offered for the application of Masses without an indication of the number of Masses to be celebrated, the number is to be computed on the basis of the offering established in the place where the donor resides, unless the intention of the donor must be presumed legitimately to have been different.
Can. 951 §1. A priest who celebrates several Masses on the same day can apply each to the intention for which the offering was given, but subject to the rule that, except on Christmas, he is to keep the offering for only one Mass and transfer the others to the purposes prescribed by the ordinary, while allowing for some recompense by reason of an extrinsic title.
§2. A priest who concelebrates a second Mass on the same day cannot accept an offering for it under any title.
Can. 952 §1. It is for the provincial council or a meeting of the bishops of the province to define by decree for the entire province the offering to be given for the celebration and application of Mass, and a priest is not permitted to seek a larger sum. Nevertheless, he is permitted to accept for the application of a Mass a voluntary offering which is larger or even smaller than the one defined.
§2. Where there is no such decree, the custom in force in the diocese is to be observed.
§3. Members of all religious institutes must also observe the same decree or local custom mentioned in §§1 and 2.
Can. 953 No one is permitted to accept more offerings for Masses to be applied by himself than he can satisfy within a year.
Can. 954 If in certain churches or oratories more Masses are asked to be celebrated than can be celebrated there, it is permitted for them to be celebrated elsewhere unless the donors have expressly indicated a contrary intention.
Can. 955 §1. A person who intends to entrust to others the celebration of Masses to be applied is to entrust their celebration as soon as possible to priests acceptable to him, provided that he is certain that they are above suspicion.
He must transfer the entire offering received unless it is certain that the excess over the sum fixed in the diocese was given for him personally. He is also obliged to see to the celebration of the Masses until he learns that the obligation has been accepted and the offering received.
§2. The time within which Masses must be celebrated begins on the day the priest who is to celebrate them received them unless it is otherwise evident.
§3. Those who entrust to others Masses to be celebrated are to record in a book without delay both the Masses which they received and those which they transferred to others, as well as their offerings.
§4. Every priest must note accurately the Masses which he accepted to celebrate and those which he has satisfied.
Can. 956 Each and every administrator of pious causes or those obliged in any way to see to the celebration of Masses, whether clerics or laity, are to hand over to their ordinaries according to the method defined by the latter the Mass obligations which have not been satisfied within a year.
Can. 957 The duty and right of exercising vigilance that Mass obligations are fulfilled belong to the local ordinary in churches of secular clergy and to the superiors in churches of religious institutes or societies of apostolic life.
Can. 958 §1. The pastor and the rector of a church or other pious place which regularly receives offerings for Masses are to have a special book in which they note accurately the number of Masses to be celebrated, the intention, the offering given, and their celebration.
§2. The ordinary is obliged to examine these books each year either personally or through others.

We have one person who usually gives $100 dollars ‘to the Church’ when requesting a Mass for his mom. Because of his ‘to the Church’, $10 is considered a stipend for the Mass, $90 a donation to the parish and it is recorded as such. If he said ‘to the priest’, the entire $100 would be given as a stipend to the priest.

***I can’t thank you enough for posting this. I have had issues with stipends being ‘requested’ for masses…It reminded me of ‘paying for a mass,’ and that just never sat well with me. But, this is such a beautiful explanation…and it has wiped away my issues now. Thank you!!! (It doesn’t seem like much, but I really had a problem with this up until you posting this!) :o I feel relieved, I don’t want to have any tension when it comes to Church customs, but this was one that tripped me up. You are a blessing to post this for us. ***

You are welcome! I love our Archbishop. Please keep him in your prayers, as he is suffering from Hodgkins lymphoma. He is in remission right now, but still asks for prayers.

I don’t know how anybody can “charge” for a Mass. It’s always been commonplace where I come from just to give make an offering.

You can’t CHARGE for a Mass. If someone asks “How much for a Mass?” my reply is “The usual donation is $10.” If they don’t have the money, the Mass intention is still recorded and the Mass will be celebrated for that intention – the only difference is that the priest won’t receive a stipend for that Mass.

Some priests I know do not accept stipends for celebrating Mass or they will transfer any Mass intentions with the accompanying stipends to the Missions where priests use Mass stipends to survive.

If you are going to comment on a particular thread, it is important to read at least a few of the preceding posts. Thanks.

I read them. I was talking about some dioceses setting a fee. I understand how important it is to offer a stipend. After all, it’s mainly the only money a priest receives. I can understand the diocese setting a fee to pay for a supply priest, because they have to come from long distances, &c.

But the diocese setting a fee for a Mass offering doesn’t make sense to me… Maybe I’m just stupid…

Can. 952 §1. It is for the provincial council or a meeting of the bishops of the province to define by decree for the entire province the offering to be given for the celebration and application of Mass, and a priest is not permitted to seek a larger sum. Nevertheless, he is permitted to accept for the application of a Mass a voluntary offering which is larger or even smaller than the one defined.
§2. Where there is no such decree, the custom in force in the diocese is to be observed.
§3. Members of all religious institutes must also observe the same decree or local custom mentioned in §§1 and 2.

Mass intentions should never to be charged for. and as for a offering,
it should be whatever amount you feel like. if a priest does get too many mass intentions to do himself, another priest should help.

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