Project of the Week – Peru

Mass stipends for 18 priests of the Institute of the Incarnate Word  

Having Holy Mass celebrated on behalf of someone we love is perhaps the most beautiful, and sometimes indeed the only thing we can do, especially for someone who has died. Our offering of a Mass intentions to the priest is in no sense a payment for this spiritual good, but rather a gesture of loving gratitude and of support for the priest in his ministry. Indeed, for many priests in some of the poorest countries of the world such offerings are often their only means of support, and even survival. Not surprisingly, during the pandemic [which is still very strong in some places] such Mass offerings were more greatly needed than ever before. As a result of the lockdowns, many priests in these countries were deprived even of the meagre Sunday collections they would otherwise have received. And in any case, they were already sharing what little they had with those still poorer than themselves.

In celebrating The Holy Eucharist for the intentions of the benefactor, the priest is placing these intentions on the altar, before the Lord—whether it be for the repose of the soul of a departed loved one, the healing of a sick person, the suffering of a parent for a child who has rejected the Faith or some other private intention. Benefactors may request individual Masses, a novena of Masses or indeed the less well-known “Gregorian Mass”. This is when a priest agrees to celebrate Holy Mass every day for 30 days in unbroken succession for the eternal repose of a departed soul. In many Western countries, it is difficult to find a priest who can even commit to celebrating Holy Mass on 30 successive days. However, in many poorer countries priests are still happy to perform this service for the dead.

Among the many priests who depend on your Mass intentions are the 18 members of the Institute of the Incarnate Word working in various dioceses of Peru, for example in the village of Chipaya in the diocese of Oruro, high in the Andes at an altitude of around 13,000 feet (4000 m). The climate is harsh and theirs is a difficult mission. The people are poor, but happy to share what little they have with their priests.

The Provincial Superior, Father Raúl Harriague, has asked our help for his priests in the diocese of Oruro and in other dioceses of the country. There are 18 of them altogether, and we are proposing to send them 720 individual Mass intentions and a further 18 Gregorian Mass (30 consecutive days each), along with a total contribution of 16,740 dollars for their support. Father Raúl has written to thank us: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for the help you have already given us in the past and to promise you our prayers, both for you in your work and for your benefactors also.”

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