One recent weekday, the Mass intention was for the repose of the soul of a parishioner who passed away earlier this summer.
The daily Mass crew is pretty consistent (and had been, even before the pandemic), so it wasn’t exactly a surprise that the group of ladies sitting together in a pew that’s normally unoccupied were family members or friends of the deceased. I found that out because, after Mass, I couldn’t get out the door while they were standing around in the vestibule – probably looking for Father.
“Nice Mass,” one of them commented.
Another agreed. “He said the name.”
Maybe it’s not standard procedure to announce the names of those for whom Masses are offered. At our parish, it is done during the general intercessions.
At first, I didn’t see what the big deal was. I remembered back about 10 years when, during Lent and Advent, the pastor at the time required the choirs to chant the general intercessions, and people complained that they couldn’t hear their loved one’s name mentioned. (We tried. Really, we did. But it was extraordinarily difficult to chant those intentions and include the names. Fortunately that practice died in the water pretty quickly.) At the time, I thought it was shallow that people were making a big deal about the mention of a name.
But it is a big deal, to be prayed for by name. It’s a comfort. We want to be seen, and we want our loved ones to be seen – and that mention of a name in prayer is the Church’s way to express that someone has not been forgotten, that we do remember them and pray for them.
It is never shallow to want to have a loved one remembered in prayer. And it’s not shallow to need to hear that it’s happening.
Next time you’re at Mass, listen for the name. Pray for the deceased for whom that Mass is offered – that’s not just the priest’s job. And pray for the family that person left behind.
Copyright 2020 Barb Szyszkiewicz
Image: Pexels (2017)