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Masses for the Living, Too!

By Susan Tassone

Is a Mass offered for one who is still living more powerful than a Mass celebrated for that person after he or she has died? I often wondered about that, so I wrote to Father Edward McNamara, a noted Professor of Liturgy, at the Regina Apostolorum University in Rome. This is how he responded to my inquiry.

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Strengthened in Holy Communion

July 20
"It is through the sacraments and the exercise of the virtues that the sacred nature and organic structure of the priestly community is brought into operation... Taking part in the Eucharistic sacrifice, which is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life, they offer the Divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with It. Thus both by reason of the offering and through Holy Communion all take part in this liturgical service, not indeed, all in the same way but each in that way which is proper to himself. Strengthened in Holy Communion by the Body of Christ, they then manifest in a concrete way that unity of the people of God which is suitably signified and wondrously brought about by this most august sacrament.
-Lumen Gentium, No. 11

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Encounter the Lord

July 13
"The assembly should prepare itself to encounter its Lord and to become 'a people well disposed.' The preparation of hearts is the joint work of the Holy Spirit and the assembly, especially of its ministers. The grace of the Holy Spirit seeks to awaken faith, conversion of heart, and adherence to the Father's will. These dispositions are the precondition both for the reception of other graces conferred in the celebration itself and the fruits of new life which the celebration is intended to produce afterward."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1098

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