I recently made a donation to a Catholic organization and was told that, as a thank you, a mass would be offered for me. What does this mean? Does this mean that I have "sponsored" the mass in the same way that an organization might sponsor a television program? Is it a special kind of prayer for me? What is the purpose of offering a mass for someone?
What is the purpose of offering a mass for someone?
What is a Mass Intention?
The object for which a priest offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice. This intention is distinct from the priest's decision to offer Mass, which is necessary for valid celebration. It is also distinct from the effects of the Mass which benefit those who take part in the sacrifice and attend the Mass. These are called the special fruits of the Mass and extensively are without limit, as are also the effects on the entire Church, called the general fruits of the Mass.
Mass intentions refer to the particular purpose for which a specific Mass is offered. This may be to honor God or thank him for blessings received. But technically a Mass intention means that the sacrifice is offered for some person(s) living or dead. Also called the application of a Mass, it pertains to the ministerial fruits of the Mass. These fruits are both extensively and intensively finite in virtue of the positive will of Christ. Other things being equal, the more often the sacrifice is offered the more benefit is conferred.
The intention for which a priest offers a Mass is determined either by the common law of the Church, or by specific precept, or, most often, by the intention of the donor of a Mass stipend, or by the priest's own devotion. Since it is not absolutely certain that the ministerial fruits of the Mass are limited, a priest may conditionally (if the one giving the stipend suffers no loss thereby) offer the Mass for several intentions. It is assumed that the priest does not intend by these second or third intentions to fulfill an obligation of justice by these conditional applications. - Catholic Dictionary
At a concelebrated Mass each priest say Mass for a different intention.
When a Mass is concelebrated, each priest offers the sacrifice of the Mass. This means that each priest is able to have his own intention. The fact that they are concelebrating i.e., offering their Masses at the same time and in the same location, does not alter the fact that each priest is celebrating Mass. - Canon Law Made Easy
In the end, the organization will have a Mass offered up for your intentions. My guess is that your name will be added to a list of benefactors of this charitable organization and that a special mass will be offered for all your intentions together, perhaps at a special altar or a particular time (Christmas).
This tradition is also seen in St. Augustine’s Confessions (c. 397), where St. Monica (his mother) asks St. Augustine: “One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord.”
Pope Paul VI said, “The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer!” It has immense power and countless miracles and conversions have occurred throughout the centuries by offering Masses for a specific intention or person. Mass intentions are a great treasure of the Church and have a spiritual weight that is incalculable. - What are Mass intentions?
In divine realities no one can buy the Infinite Value of the Sacrifices of Jesus Christ offered to mankind for our Redemption.If we talk about your case the Holy Mass cannot be paralleled to a television program.
Your charitable actions is highly appreciated that's why they are offering the highest gratitude by offering a Holy Mass in.your behalf. They are availing the "graces" Jesus have won for us and thru their prayers you might receive it according to the disposition of your heart.
In all Parishes one can avail or request to offer a Holy Mass in the following categories;
Special Intention (Blessings & Healings)
I think the most important thing to know is the value of the Holy Mass and what it does to you personally especially to your soul eventhough you are not present but the Celebration is personally intended for the well-being of your soul.
The bottom line is you will receive special graces by the act of gratitude of the Catholic organization believing that the Holy Mass can confer "graces" to their benefactors.
For your info how valuable the Holy Mass is please see the link on Catalina Rivas divine revelation and I'm sure you will highly appreciate too the kind gestures of the Catholic organization as they returning a valuable favor by your charitable act of goodness.
The Holy Mass Explained to Catalina by Jesus and Mary
The testimony of Catalina on the Holy Mass
This is the testimony that I must and want to give to the whole world, for the greater Glory of God and for the salvation of all of those who want to open their hearts to the Lord. It is also given so that many souls consecrated to God will rekindle the fire of their love for Christ, some of whom are the owners of the hands that have the power to bring Him to our world so that He can become our nourishment. It is also given for others so that they break lose of the “routine practice” of receiving Him, and relive the amazement of their daily encounter with Love. And it is given so that my lay brothers and sisters from the entire world live the greatest Miracle with their hearts: the celebration of the Eucharist.
Source: The Holy Mass (Michael Journal)