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, through the words of Consecration, again makes present the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the altar.
For priests living in many of the poorest countries of the world such Mass offerings are often a vital support for their material survival. These priests receive no salary or regular remuneration, and the faithful themselves are frequently too poor to be able to support them. Hence, these Mass stipends are often 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 also to provide the people with food, medicines, clothing, schooling for their children and vocational training for the young. All of these people look with hope towards their priests.
Every year, thanks to the Mass stipends offered by our benefactors, ACN is able to support around 40,000 needy priests around the world. Among these are the 34 priests of the Archdiocese of Santiago de Cuba. For the profound economic crisis which affects the Cuban people has likewise had a painful impact on the Church. The ordinary faithful are generally too poor to be able to support their priests, or the various activities in the parishes.
We are consequently proposing to provide Mass stipends for these 32 priests of the diocese, to a total value of 10,800 Euros – which represents just 337 Euros for each priest, for the entire year.