The tradition of Masses offered for the intentions of living or deceased loved ones originated in the very early Church and continues to be an important Catholic practice. For us who believe that the Mass is the perfect prayer, no greater gift can be offered for our loved ones, living and deceased, who may still need the help of our prayers. Priests are under a strict obligation to remember in a special way the person for whom the Mass is being offered.
Masses are often requested for a loved one who has recently died or on the anniversary of a death. However, the gift of a Mass intention is also a wonderful way to offer prayers on the event of a wedding anniversary, a birthday, an anniversary of ordination or entrance into religious life. Masses may also be offered for the intentions of a person about to undergo surgery, who is recuperating from an illness, who wishes to overcome addiction, sin or has some other special need. Masses may be offered in thanksgiving for blessings, family, health and answer to prayers.