EWTN Catholic Q&A
RE: If a Catholic can't find a Mass...
Question from Julia on 08-21-2013:

I was also surprised by the answer to the question if a priest is invited on a trip in order to celebrate Mass for people. The answer seems contrary to Matthew 10, where Jesus says:

And preach as you go, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay. Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food (Matt. 10:710).

From my perspective, it is a great honor and privilege to be a priest able to pray the Mass. The privilege of holding the body and blood of Christ is payment enough. That said, of course whoever invites a priest on such a journey with them should at least offer to pay for their lodging and food.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 08-22-2013:


Jesus was giving specific instructions to his apostles for a particular mission that occurred during his earthly life. He was not binding all priests at all times to never receive adequate compensation for their work. If he had been doing that, then St. Paul could not have said to St. Timothy:

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching; for the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves his wages" (1 Tim. 5:1718).

I should warn you that it is not particularly charitable of you to decide what is "payment enough" for a priest. And the very fact that many Catholics are quite stingy in compensating priests for their time and labor in ministry is one reason why many retired priests struggle to pay their bills. I once read of a Catholic who met a retired priest who actually had to eat his meals at the local soup kitchen because he was hungry and had no other way to afford food.

I urge all readers to be generous with stipends to priests who offer the sacraments for them. And one way to help retired priests who face difficulties in making ends meet is to support Opus Bono Sacerdotii, an apostolate that assists priests in need.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers