QUAERITUR: Mentioning names of those for whom Mass is offered.

From a reader:

I will make this short. Why is the name of the person for whom the
Mass is beign said not mentioned by the priest any more?

There is no hard and fast universal custom about this from priest to priest or place to place.

Some people, however, who get used to this really take it to heart if they don’t hear the name they want to hear when they are used to hearing it. What results is an awkward confrontation in the sacristy when a 4’2″ Italian immigrant nonna with cataracts starts stabbing her sausage-like finger at the equally old visiting Vietnamese priest who has no idea what she is talking about. “I comma here and I paya for dis Messa ana you no saya da name. Whya you no saya da name?”

Some priests say the name during the Eucharistic Prayer or before Mass or at sermon time in the announcements. Some don’t say the name at all. However, be sure that – if it is a parish Mass and there is an intention – the priest has checked before Mass and has the intention in mind. Mass was said for the intention you asked for whether you heara da name o no heara da name.

Relax about this. If you are curious about a priest’s practice, wait until you are very calm and then, someday, ask him about it.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Joan A. says:

    I think the name should be said at whatever the priest determines is a suitable moment. Why not, they say enough other stuff that is entirely irrelevant like Happy Mother’s Day, or thanks ladies for the bake sale, or Can someone see about having that bulb replaced?

    There is someplace in the Eucharistic prayer where it’s easy to add this intention. Our old priest did it daily. I don’t remember how he did it, but seemed uncontrived. He also had a list in the vestibule of all the Masses for that week and whose intentions they were for (by name and date), and the same list in the bulletin.

    There was no way to miss if your Mass was being offered, when, for whom, and also for others to be able to join in that intention, this last being part of the importance of saying the name, so we all pray for the person as part of our Mass.

  2. patergary says:

    I see to to it that I mention the intention of the person during the prayer for the faithful because I have learned my lesson early on (a few days after my ordination) from an old Filipino woman.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    This happened here twice to me and as I do not know Maltese, the situation was very like what you described, Father Z. I am only 5’4”, but I am considered tall here, which is hysterical to me, as I was the third shortest in all my classes growing up in Iowa. However, I gracefully backed down, when the poor Franciscan priest was so confused as to who had asked for which persons for the intentions for two different Masses. He doesn’t write them down. Even at the C0-Cathedral, on Sunday, there is no written list. I wrote mine down, but the Maltese Matriarch did not, However, one can wait for such things a day or two.

  4. Normally I mention the intention (especially if the Mass is for the dead) three times: once at the beginning, then during the intercessions and lastly during the Eucharistic prayer. This ensures that the deaf, the late and the inattentive have no excuse to rip my head off. Worse case is when there are two intentions ( a double booking) – that’s bad news.

  5. Kerry says:

    Father Z, can you put this, “I comma here and I paya for dis Messa ana you no saya da name. Whya you no saya da name?”, into Latin?

  6. Paul says:

    It is a minor thing I suppose, but the practice in the many of the Masses I attend around here (NJ) is to say, “We remember in a special way _________” or “Today’s Mass is to celebrate the life of_________”. Both seem to me to miss the mark and the latter teaches very bad theology.

  7. Volanges says:

    In our parish the names are printed in the bulletin or posted at the back of the church or both.

    On weekdays Father mentions the intention before Mass since not every Eucharistic Prayer has a place to include them if it’s not a Mass for the Dead.

    At the Saturday evening Mass the name is included in the prepared Prayers of the Faithful.

    It has happened that the priest didn’t mention the name at all and the person who’d requested the intention insisted that it be rescheduled.

  8. Father S. says:

    In my parish, the list of intentions is in the bulletin. I don’t mention the name because it is my intention. The faithful can (and should) have their own intentions for the Holy Mass. The text is “meum ac vestrum sacrificium,” not “nostrum sacrificium.”

  9. irishgirl says:

    In the parish where I used to attend the OF Mass (I now go to the EF/TLM exclusively), there are ‘multiple’ intentions; in other words, more than one name for whom the Mass is offered (there’s only three weekend Masses, so there’s a lot of ‘doubling and tripling up’).
    Regarding the Italian nonnas and Maltese Matriarchs-hey, you don’t wanna mess with them when it comes to having Masses offered for their family members! ; )

  10. BV says:

    At my NJ parish, the cantor, music director, or just some member of the choir (on Sundays/Holy Days) will announce, “this mass is offered for ___________, at the request of ___________ “, and we are lucky if the name is pronounced properly. It is always in the bulletin, and we are lucky if the name is spelled correctly. There have been some priests in the past who would say the name at some point during the mass, but I cannot recall hearing this done recently.

    I stopped listing my name as the one requesting, and just have it listed as by “family, brother, etc…” as I don’t like hearing my name announced like that. It’s not about me.

  11. Patti Day says:

    The intention(s) is always listed on the first page of the bulletin, and as well, father mentions the name of the person, and whether the intended is deceased or living, and who requested the intention before mass. I can recall one time when he may have forgotten and mentioned the information at the end of mass.

  12. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:

    In the first Eucharistic Prayer, there are two places where the names are to be inserted, marked with “N. and N.” Granted, these places are enclosed in parentheses, so they are easy enough to omit if you wanted to, but why would any ever want to?

  13. MyBrokenFiat says:

    BV… wondering if you and I are part of the same parish… lol.

    Ours does the same thing!

  14. dmhb says:

    I love the accent and the mental picture of a confused elderly Vietnamese priest encountering nonna.

    Thanks for the reminder to be Very Calm when asking this sort of thing, there is a lot of acceptable variation in liturgical practices and things associated. Usually not much is gained by strong feelings or a confrontational attitude.

  15. BV says:

    MyBrokenFiat: You never know ;)

    I have had my last name misspelled and mispronounced many times by deacons, the parish office, and the person annoucing the mass intention. I even called & wrote the office once when the name was misspelled, so it would not be mispronounced at mass, but to no avail.

    I think it best I pick a mass I definitely will not be at, like the 5 PM youth mass with the guitars, drums, clapping, etc… so I won’t have to hear them mispronounce the name, and then spend all mass grumblign to myself how “it’s really a very easy name”.

    I have never heard the name during the Eucharistic Prayer, not that I recall.

  16. Volanges says:

    Robertus Pittsburghensis, does that mean you hear the First Eucharistic Prayer in your parish? I haven’t heard it in mine in the last, hmm, 8 years.

  17. Fortiter Pugnem says:

    At my FSSP church they used to put it in the bulletin, but Sundays were always “pro populo”. They don’t put it in anymore, but I usually know who it is said for because I usually place the paper with the person’s name on the altar so the priest won’t forget (I’m an MC:))!

  18. Fr Martin Fox says:

    We always include the intention in the prayers of the faithful. Sometimes, at a weekday Mass, if time is short, I will omit the prayers of the faithful, which are not mandatory. Then I will mention in the Eucharistic prayer.

    I may be wrong, but I think when the 2nd or 3rd Eucharistic Prayer is used, the priest only includes the memento language if it’s a “Mass for the Dead”–which I take to refer to the Mass prayers chosen. I.e., if the Mass prayers are not “for the dead,” I am thinking that formula shouldn’t be added to the Eucharistic Prayer. I’ve done it, but have considered I shouldn’t.

    Sometimes I mention the intention in the Eucharistic prayer, but only when, in my judgment, the intention is on the minds of many present: a weekday Mass, for example, where a large number of family or friends come just for that intention. When, on the weekend, I offer Mass for “pro populo,” the intention is “for the living and deceased of both parishes” and if I use the Roman canon, I mention the living of both parishes at the first memento, and the deceased at the second.

    Sometimes the reader announces the wrong intention; if so after Mass if possible, I will tell the family I prayed for the right intention!

  19. Supertradmum says:

    Recently, I asked a priest to pray a Mass for two troubled young men with unnatural sexual habits. He kindly said he would pray the Mass for them “in his head” and not aloud. I think that is a real “intention”.

  20. marajoy says:

    At a church which I recently started attending, one of the prayers of the faithful is worded:
    “This Mass is offered for John Smith. Let us pray to the Lord.” (“Lord hear our prayer…”)

    nice try, but that doesn’t really make grammatical sense…

  21. Volanges says:

    I always worded the intention as “For John Smith for whom this Mass is offered at the request of Joe and Mary Black, we pray to the Lord.

  22. Fortiter Pugnem says:

    I believe in the EF there is a place in the Canon specifically for this. I should know, but…

  23. GirlCanChant says:

    Mass intentions tend to drive me up a wall. The way I see it, as long as the priest knows, and I know, and God knows, we’re good. At my parish, the intentions (and the name of the person who asked for them) are printed in the bulletin. I have seen people give our pastor hell when something isn’t printed right/wound up on the wrong day, even though they would have arranged that with the secretary and not him anyway. Our Mass books for next year opened last Saturday. I was very glad to get my 3 Masses for the year and clear out.

  24. amenamen says:

    @ Kerry. Maybe something like this?
    Veni. Vidi. Non audivi nomen. Heu.
    Obtuli eum stipendium quod recusare non posset.

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