FAQs on Eucharist
1. Can Communion and Confirmation be given to the mentally challenged?
The Blessed Eucharist may be administered to children in danger of death if they can distinguish the Body of Christ from ordinary food and receive it with reverence. Similar considerations could be invoked in the case of the mentally challenged even outside the danger of death. (Refer “The Canon Law Letter and Spirit”, Canon 913 §2.)
With regard to the Sacrament of Confirmation, the requirement for the valid reception of this Sacrament is that the candidate be validly baptised. It is not necessary for the candidate to have the use of reason for validity. Hence, even the profoundly mentally challenged can, and should, receive the Sacrament. (Refer “The Canon Law Letter and Spirit”, Canon 889 §1.)
2. What is a Box-Intention Mass and a Pluri-Intention Mass?
Box–Intention or Collective Intention Mass is one where a box is kept and any individual can put in his/her contribution, however big or small (and not necessarily corresponding to the diocesan stipend) for the Mass to be offered. It is made known to the faithful that only a single Mass will be offered for all the intentions and for the amount of money that is put in the Box. In this case, the offering of each donor could be any amount – it could be less than the diocesan stipend or more than the diocesan stipend.
A Pluri–Intention Mass is one that is offered for the specific intentions of several individuals or organizations, with each one giving a definite amount of money (equal to the diocesan stipend), with the full knowledge and consent of those offering the stipends that only one Mass will be offered for the intentions of all who have given a definite amount of money as stipends. Hence, if the diocesan stipend is Rs. 50.00 per Mass that is offered, and if there are six donors, each donor will offer Rs. 50.00 for their respective intention(s).
3. Can a priest celebrate one Mass for the intentions of several donors? How often can a Box-Intention Mass and/or a Pluri-Intention Mass be celebrated? What about the stipend?
Canon 948 states “separate Masses are to be applied for the intentions of those for whom a single offering, although small, has been given and accepted.”
This means that each of the celebrants and concelebrants may accept only a single offering for a single Mass even if a smaller amount than customary is accepted. Although the donor’s intention can include more than one person, only one offering can be taken.
On February 22, 1991, the Congregation for the Clergy issued a decree Mos iugiter dealing with“Box-Intention & Pluri-Intention Masses”. In this Decree, a special faculty is given to the Ordinary to permit his priests to celebrate one Mass for the intentions of several donors subject to certain conditions. (However, the obligation to allow the faithful to ask for and to obtain the celebration of Mass according to their particular intentions should be emphasized and insisted upon. This obligation remains intact and binding as stated in the Code of Canon Law, particularly Canons 945 – 958.) Therefore, one must bear in mind that whatever is mentioned about “Box-Intention & Pluri-Intention Masses” is praeter legem, that is, beyond the Code.
Conditions for “Multi-Intention” or “Collective” Masses:
a. Only the Ordinary of the place can authorise the celebration of Collective or Pluri Intention Masses, when there is a genuine and lasting difficulty in satisfying individual requests;
b. This faculty is to be used only for two Masses a week in any combination (i.e. two Pluri-Intention Masses; or two Box-intention Masses; or one Pluri-Intention and one Box-intention Masses);
c. The donors should know if it is a Box-intention or Pluri-Intention Mass that they are offering. In other words, the donors must knowingly and voluntarily agree to have their intentions combined in a single celebration;
d. The date, time and place of this celebration is to be publicly announced;
e. The priest receives only one stipend as per the diocesan norms;
f. The remainder amount goes for the intention prescribed by the Ordinary of the place in accordance with Canon 951 §1.
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