We received this question from a parishioner: Why don’t we add additional names to each Mass rather than one person per Mass? It would bring in additional revenue while parishioners get the date they want.
Canon Law (the law of the entire Catholic Church) states:
Canon 947: Any appearance of trafficking or trading is to be excluded entirely from the offering for Masses.
Canon 948: Separate Masses are to be applied for the intentions of those for whom a single offering, although small, has been given and accepted.
These two items in the law mean that only one person (or family) may request an intention for each Mass (c. 948), and using Masses as a “fundraiser” is explicitly forbidden (c. 947). We realize that the delay between requesting a Mass and the Mass offered is often quite long, but the priority of the Church is that Mass be a spiritual endeavor, not a financial one. Certainly each of us can pray for whomever we wish at every Mass we attend, but the priest celebrant can only offer one intention for which he receives a donation.