For Catholics, Mass is an incredibly important part of life. It is a time to gather as a community and a church body to celebrate their faith and beliefs. Mass is also a time where friends and loved ones, past and present, can be remembered and prayed for.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How Do You Get a Perpetual Mass Card?
- What’s Typically on a Perpetual Mass Card?
- How Can You Thank Someone for a Perpetual Mass Card?
While it is common for friends and family to submit names of the living for special mass services, there’s a different opportunity to remember the deceased. Perpetual Mass is most often where names of the deceased are submitted to be remembered and prayed for in perpetuity. Their names are added to a registry and they are then prayed for during each Mass.
Perpetual Masses are thoughtful ways to remember loved ones and you can submit someone you knew or even strangers to the list. When submitting someone to be celebrated via perpetual Mass, you can request a “Mass card” to send to their family. When you give a grieving family a perpetual Mass card, you often bring a sense of comfort and encouragement unlike anything else. Mass reminds grieving family members that their loved one has not been forgotten, will always be remembered, and will always be prayed for.
How Do You Get a Perpetual Mass Card?
If you want to request a perpetual Mass card for your loved one, friend, or relative, you can get one either online or in-person in just a few steps.
The most important thing to know is that getting and giving a perpetual Mass card means you enroll that person into perpetual Mass. So your first step is first enrolling your friend or loved one into perpetual Mass.
Visit local parish or enroll online
There are two ways of enrolling someone into perpetual Mass. If you want to give the person’s family the ability to attend the mass where their loved one is remembered, then enroll them in their local parish. If you cannot go to the parish or there is no online option locally, you can enroll them into perpetual Mass online with any number of orders stationed around the world.
It’s okay if you have a hard time choosing where to enroll them. If you’ve narrowed it down to two places, keep in mind that you can enroll them in both.
Give a gift or donation
Enrollment into perpetual Mass and any other Mass is free, though the church may request a donation amount. Any gifts or donations go to the church to help keep programs and services running. You may donate any amount desired and if you cannot do so because of financial hardship, you will not be turned away.
If you want to donate to the church on behalf of your loved one or friend, this is an excellent time to do so, as donations are never limited.
Fill out information
Whether you’re enrolling a loved one in person or online, your next step will be to fill out your information. Online forms are a bit lengthier, but the process is basically the same.
Information you provide to the church or fill out online includes:
- Type of Mass requested (in this case, perpetual)
- Your contact information
- Name of the person
- Special commands or instructions
- Card preferences
- Mailing preferences
Many church offices have more than one perpetual Mass card to choose. You may be able to request a specific design or have a special verse included on the card. If you complete the enrollment process online, many sites give you the option to choose which card you want before completing your order.
Confirm mailing preferences
Before you leave the church or complete online checkout, confirm your mailing preferences. You can have the card sent to your mailing address so you can hand it to the family or the parish can send it to the family for you. Either option is perfectly acceptable.
If you choose to have the card sent to your address, you’ll need to decide how to give it to the family. You can mail it to them or hand it to them after a graveside service, a Catholic funeral Mass, or a memorial Mass.
What’s Typically on a Perpetual Mass Card?
Perpetual Mass cards are designed to be beautiful, informative, and comforting to a family in time of grief. Here is what you can expect on a perpetual Mass card.
In loving memory sentiment
Since most perpetual Mass enrollments are for people who have passed away, many perpetual Mass cards will have a sentiment akin to “in loving memory” on the front to denote the fact that the card is for someone who passed away.
Parish or order information
Depending on where you enroll your friend or loved one, the card may include information about the parish or order. At the least, there will be a paragraph or two about perpetual enrollment and what it means for the person enrolled.
Name of enrollee and date
Within the card, there will be a notice stating that perpetual enrollment has been conferred upon the name of the enrollee. This information makes it clear what type of Mass they have been enrolled in and when enrollment began.
Under the enrollment notice, there is a place where your name can be listed as the person who requested enrollment. If you are signing up someone anonymously, you can choose to leave this blank or place a non-identifier in that spot such as, “A friend” or “Someone who cares.” If sending the card anonymously, make sure your return address is not included on the card.
Verses or sayings
Most perpetual Mass cards will also contain funeral prayers or verses of scripture. This is often customizable and you can change which verse or saying to better suit the individual you enrolled.
A picture or image
There is almost always a picture or image. This can range from a picture of Jesus, Mary, a picture of a saint, or something soothing such as flowers.
How Can You Thank Someone for a Perpetual Mass Card?
If you’ve received a perpetual Mass card after your loved one’s funeral or memorial service, it’s appropriate to thank the person for their thoughtfulness. Mass cards fall into the same category as thanking someone for their gift of a floral arrangement, gift basket, or another physical gift after a funeral.
Choose an appropriate thank you card
When writing thank-you notes in response to those who attended your loved one’s funeral, a simple thank you card is more than appropriate. If you have many thank you cards to write in response to Mass cards, consider purchasing a thank you card pack with ten or more cards in a pack.
These are often simple with the words “Thank you” embossed in gold or silver on the front and blank inside. It is not necessary to purchase individual thank you cards when sending responses of gratitude after a funeral.
Write a brief message of thanks
After addressing your card to the person or family that requested enrollment of your loved one, include a brief note of thanks.
You can customize your message any way you’d like, simply remember to include three things:
- A note of thanks
- Mentioning perpetual enrollment
- Mentioning where your loved one was enrolled
By including these three elements, you personalize your thank you note to each person or family. Consider the following sample messages if you need help getting started.
“Thank you for enrolling my dear John into perpetual Enrollment with Our Lady of Angels Association. Your thoughtfulness, kindness, and care mean so much to me and my children at this time. Thank you for thinking of John and remembering him this way.”
“My family and I greatly appreciate your love and care for our mother’s eternal soul. Thank you for enrolling her into perpetual Mass at St. Andrew’s. We will so enjoy attending Mass together knowing that our mother is being remembered. Even though she is gone, we will all be together during Mass.”
“Cheryl and I want to thank you for thinking of our family during this time and enrolling Bob into perpetual Mass with Glastonbury Abbey. Your kindness is so very much appreciated.”
Remembering Loved Ones in Perpetual Prayer
Enrolling someone in perpetual Mass is more than a kind gesture. Enrollment provides encouragement and comfort to grieving family members and friends alike. If you want to show someone your respect in a faith-based fashion, enrolling their loved one into perpetual Mass is a wonderful way to do so.
- “Perpetual Deceased Mass Card.” Mass Card, Society of the Little Flower, 2021. littleflower.org/perpetual-deceased-mass-card-/
- “Perpetual Mass Enrollment Cards.” Perpetual Mass Cards, Glastonbury Abbey, 2021. shop.glastonburyabbey.org/Perpetual-Enrollment-Cards-s/1814.htm
- “Perpetual Mass Enrollment.” Request a Mass, Seraphic Mass Association, 2021. mymassrequest.org/Request-A-Mass/Perpetual-Mass-Enrollment