SMA Missionary Association Cards
An SMA Missionary Association Card is a thoughtful way to have a loved one or friend remembered in the prayers and Masses of the Society of African Missions Missionaries.
The SMA is happy to make cards available through Promoters, i.e. designated SMA supporters. If you would like to have a supply of our cards, for your own use or that of your family and neighbours, please contact the nearest SMA House. But we remind all our supporters that, in accordance with the wishes of the Irish Episcopal Conference, we do not supply cards of any sort to shops or other retail outlets.
Our cards are for occasions such as the death of a loved one, a neighbour or friend, Get Well, at Christmas etc. We invite you to contact us for a selection of the cards which you can use as and when necessary. With the Cards we enclose a sheet for the names to be listed and forwarded to the SMA House supplying the Cards so that the people you name are remembered in the prayers of our SMA missionaries, at home and overseas. The cards are very useful to have in your home or at work, especially when unexpected occasions arise.
Donations received for cards support our missionaries and the Church in poor parishes in developing countries, particularly in Africa. Thank You for your kind support.
The SMA agrees with the statement issued by the Irish Bishops after their October 2010 meeting which says: “It is important to be particularly vigilant to ensure that people’s good faith in asking to have a Mass offered for a particular intention would not be exploited by others for profit. Any appearance of trafficking or profit-making from Mass offerings must be entirely avoided. The Irish Episcopal Conference reiterated that the practice of having signed or stamped Mass Cards for sale in shops and other commercial outlets be discontinued.”
Statement by the Irish Missionary Union on Mass Cards
The following statement was circulated by the Irish Missionary Union on 6 April 2009 and is on its website at www.imu.ie :
Illegality of Selling Pre-Signed Mass Cards – Charity Act 2009 becomes law
The practice of having Mass offered for a deceased person is a praiseworthy tradition in the Catholic Church in Ireland. It is a practice that manifests the centrality of the Eucharist in our faith. It fulfills 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 years individuals and companies have exploited this traditional act of support by offering pre-signed Mass cards for sale in shops. The impression given is that these are genuine Mass cards and that Masses will be offered by priests working in developing countries. 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.
Such cards have no spiritual value. They falsify the significance of the Eucharist and trade on the faith and goodwill of people. It is a commercial operation with profit as its motive. Those who engage or facilitate this practice, including the shops that offer them for sale, seriously exploit the Eucharist and its sacred character.
The Irish Missionary Union welcomes the provision in the recently enacted Charities Act 2009 which makes it an offence for anyone to distribute pre-signed Mass cards for sale without the written permission of the Catholic Church. That provision is very specific. As a Bishop, or a Provincial of an Order of Priests recognised by the Church, will not grant such permission to commercial operations, the distribution of Mass cards from retail outlets should immediately cease. Bishops now ask retailers and their trade representatives to cooperate in this regard.
People wishing to give a Mass card on the occasion of a bereavement, should have one signed by a priest known to them or obtain one from a missionary congregation. In that way the faithful can be sure that a Mass will be offered, that the mourning family will appreciate their prayerful support, and that their donation will support the priest or his congregation.