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Requesting a Mass & Praying for the Dead

downloadQuestion

I am not a Catholic but my great grandfather was an active practicing Catholic until he suffered a stroke which left him incapacitated and unable to communicate for over twenty years.  He died many years ago but I have always felt bad that his caretakers did not request a Catholic funeral.  I know Catholics believe in Purgatory and I ponder how I might help him there.  Do I need to be a Catholic to request a Mass and offer a stipend for his soul?  Should I have a Catholic friend request this instead of me? I do not want to offend God or make things any worse for my relative.

Response

You do not need to be a Catholic to request of a priest (or a parish) that a Mass be said for an intention (in this case for the dead). We frequently pray for the dead by name (prospective souls in Purgatory). If he should already be in heaven then the fruits of the Mass (graces) would be applied to some poor soul who has no one to pray for him or her. Nothing is wasted in the Lord. Stipends for Masses vary, but in the Archdiocese of Washington, the usual donation is $10. You are not paying for the intention but offering a gift-stipend to the priest who will offer the Mass.  Mass intentions are usually published in the Parish bulletin. You can also get a Mass card, either for yourself or to send to someone else.

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