500 Mass Offerings for Priests in Costa Rica
Having Holy Mass celebrated for a particular intention, or for the soul of a departed relative, is an ancient tradition in the Church. The Mass offering, or stipend, which the faithful give to the priest in return is by no means to be seen as a "payment," but rather as a gesture of love and gratitude.
For priests in many of the poorest countries of the world, Mass stipends are critical to their survival. They do not receive any salary, and the faithful themselves often have nothing to give. Hence, our Mass offerings are the only material resources put into the empty hands of the priests, so that they in turn can help the needy who come knocking at their door.
In many countries the priest is the person upon whom all the hopes of the community are focused. People expect him to help them every need, both spiritual and material, and look on him as a father and shepherd. The task of the priest therefore includes not only ministering to souls but also helping to provide food, medicine, clothing, schooling for the children and training for the young people. All eyes are turned in hope to the priest.
This is very much the case in Costa Rica, in the Diocese of San Isidro, where just ten priests are devoting all their energies to trying to serve the people's needs. All ten of these priests are working either in very poor parishes, or else in other positions in the diocese where they do not have any regular income.
Thanks to the help of our benefactors, we will be sending the diocese $7,200 for 500 Holy Masses. And the priests will celebrate these Masses for the intentions of the people who have sent them the Mass offerings, albeit "without knowing them," as Bishop Emeritus Guillermo Loria Garita of the Diocese of San Isidro wrote to us last year. "For us this is an important help," he adds.