30 November 2020
Mass Cards Bishop Smith Oct08


 “The practice of having Mass offered for a deceased person is a praiseworthy tradition here.  It is a practice that manifest the centrality of the Eucharist in our faith.  It fulfils the scriptural invitation to pray for the dead as well as extending prayerful support to those grieving the death of a loved one.  Unfortunately in recent times individuals and companies have exploited this traditional act of support by offering pre-signed Mass cards for sale in shops and commercial outlets.  The impression given is that these are genuine cards and that Masses will be offered.  The evidence suggests otherwise. 
It is claimed that the priests who sign these cards live in third world countries and appreciate the support this involvement offers to them and other priests.

An investigation was carried out some time ago into priests whose names appear on the cards.  Not all the names could be deciphered or traced.  With the co-operation of the Church in the countries where the priests identified were alleged to minister it was found that some were deceased while others were no longer priests in good standing in the Church.  In recent months there has been a major increase in such cards being offered for sale. 
For example, some are being sold in the name of Fr Joseph O’Carroll.  In fact Fr Joseph is Mgr Jose Carolo, an Italian priest who worked in Ecuador and who died two years ago!  One assumes his name was changed to give cards greater  appeal in Ireland.

These cards have no spiritual value.  They abuse the Eucharist and trade on the faith and goodwill of people.  It is a commercial operation with profit as its motive.  Those who engage and facilitate this practice, including the shops that offer them for sale, seriously abuse the Eucharist and its sacred character. 
To give such cards to those mourning the death of a loved one is not only a meaningless act, it is also an insult to the memory of the deceased and to those who grieve over their passing”.

Bishop Michael Smith
October 2008