Dear Father Angelo,
I hope you are well and that this great heat (June 2019) does not bother you much.
I have a question about the intentions of the Mass and its fruits, in a particular case. I have already read with great interest the other replies about this topic, but I think I did not find anything about the case of concelebrated Masses.
These are very frequent in our church in Lugano, where there are even 5-6 priests on the altar at the same time. There are also many offerings for intentions, that are distributed among the concelebrants.
Is this case similar to the “pluri-intentional” Mass, where the ministerial fruit, immense but finite, is shared among many people?
If the answer is yes: should the priests inform the offerors? Or maybe limit the number of concelebrated Masses?
I thank you and keep you in my thoughts.
Answer from the priest
1. the Holy Mass makes the sacrifice that Christ offered on the cross present.
It’s that exact same sacrifice.
It is not repeated nor renewed.
2. While in the Old Testament many sacrifices were offered to God: “Christ, instead, offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God” (Heb 10:12).
3. The Protestants consider the Mass just a memory and a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice, but for the Catholics the Mass is the memoir of His sacrifice.
Meaning that not only we remember it, but we make it present.
It’s what St. Paul says, when he states: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26).
“You proclaim the death of the Lord”, that is you proclaim it and make it present on the altar.
4. Christ’s sacrifice is made present by the priest through the bread and the wine.
It’s Christ who wanted it this way when, during the Last Supper, said to the Apostles: “Do this in memory of me”.
5. We may wonder why Jesus wanted that His only and exact sacrifice, performed once and for all, was to be made present on the altar until the end of the world.
The answer is easy: to make His sacrifice contemporary to every man and to convey its fruits.
6. By saying to the Apostles “Do this in memory of me”, he gave them the power to make Jesus present through His sacrifice.
In that moment, the minister is not acting by himself, but in direct communion with Christ.
He is one with the Lord, who lets Himself be conditioned by the minister’s will, that wants to make Him present on the altar, and also by the reason dictating this will: the believers’ benefit.
7. That’s why the priest has the power to address the fruits of Christ’s sacrifice not only to every man, as the Lord on the cross wanted, but also to the particular benefit of those attending the Mass: to adore, to give thanks, to forgive sins, to ask for graces.
8. Every priest who consecrates (and during the consecration all the priests consecrate, every one of them makes Jesus’s sacrifice present) has the power to address the fruit of the one and exact sacrifice to a particular intention.
9. Thus, what is done in Lugano during the concelebration is perfectly legitimate.
Every priest consecrates. Every priest addresses the fruits of the one and exact sacrifice of Christ, made present on the altar.
10. This is different from the so-called pluri-intentional Mass, where a single priest consecrates and addresses the fruits of Christ’s sacrifice to many intentions at the same time.
The priest conveys a partial fruit of Christ’s sacrifice and he addresses it to many intentions.
While during the concelebration, every priest addresses the fruit, which is still partial, but to just one intention, without dividing it.
I thank you for your question, I entrust you to the Lord and I bless you.
Translated by: Francesca