ACN Project of the Week: Cuba
Mass Offerings for the 32 priests in Santiago de Cuba
Info from ACN International Projects Department
Posted online May 21 , 2020
Every year, thanks to the Mass offerings from our benefactors, ACN has been in a position to support around 40,000 needy priests around the world. Among them, 34 priests in the Archdiocese of Santiago de Cuba – for the profound economic crisis affecting the Cuban population has also had a painful impact on the Church. The ordinary faithful are generally too poor to support their priests, or the various activities in the parishes.
It is an ancient tradition in the Catholic Church to ask a priest to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for a particular intention, or for the soul of a departed loved one. The offering, or stipend given to the priest by the individual concerned is in no sense to be seen as ‘payment’, but is instead a gesture of love and gratitude and support for the priest who, again makes present the gift, freely given, by Jesus Christ on the altar through the words of Consecration.
For priests living in many of the poorest countries of the world such Mass offerings are often a vital source of support for their material survival. These priests receive no salary or regular remuneration. The faithful themselves are often too poor to support them, making these Mass offerings the only means of support for these pastors – means which they also generously share with the needy entrusted to their care, who come knocking at their door. For in many such countries the faithful turn to their priests for everything, seeking their help in every need, including their material needs.
The priest is seen as a father and a shepherd and is expected not only to comfort souls but to provide the people with food, medicines, clothing, schooling for their children and vocational training for the young. The people look with hope towards their priests.
We are consequently proposing to provide Mass offerings for these 32 priests of the diocese of Santiago, to a total value of $16,200 – or just $506 to support one priest for the entire year.