Q: Fr. Paul, recently, the secretary of a parish where they regularly list the Mass intentions for each Mass in the bulletin asked me if, for the Masses “for the people,” she could instead sometimes list them as, “for those who have no one to pray for them” or “for the intentions of our parishioners.” With regard to the first, I know that’s not correct; with regard to the second, my feeling is that the Mass is being said for the good of the people, not so much their specific intentions, and so the Mass for the people should not be listed as she’s suggesting. But I don’t want to be overly restrictive. Can you give me your insight into that? Gratefully—
A: You are correct. Canon 534 §1 says that the pastor of a parish must celebrate Mass each Sunday and holyday for the people entrusted to him. It’s probably not a good idea to change the wording of the intention to something else. Sometimes the simplest solution brings the best results.