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Michael Cretaro wrote:

Hi guys,

I am in the 12-step program of (AA) Alcoholics Anonymous. I am doing fine and am making my amends. In addition, I am having Masses said for people in my past, but I cannot remember their names.

  • What should I do?
  • Have a Mass intention said for a particular group of people?
  • Maybe the Immaculate Heart of Mary or the Sacred Heart of Jesus?

In some cases, I know the first name only, or I might not know the name but remember the location where I met them.

  • How do I go about this?

All of these people are from my past and won't be seen again in this life.

Thank you very much,


  { What should I do if I'm having Masses said for people but I cannot remember their names? }

Mike replied:

Dear Michael,

First, let me applaud you for joining the AA program; I will pray that, through prayer, this program will work for you, with the results being a happier person for whom the Lord still has many plans. Let me also applaud you for a great spiritual work of mercy:

Having Masses said for past acquaintances.

You said:
In addition, I am having Masses said for people in my past, but I cannot remember their names.

The Lord knows your good heart and intent so do the best you can, or make a general intention, which can be done periodically, by asking the secretary at your rectory to have a Mass said:

For all previous acquaintances of Michael Cretaro.

Then, if you wish to continue this practice of having Masses said for people, consider getting a booklet and use it to write down names of future friends and family. Just ask your local pastor or priest if it wouldn't be inconvenient to place your booklet at the base of the altar during a periodical Mass for those people in your booklet. I'm sure both of you can agree on some compromise seeing this is a spiritual matter.

I have a friend that does work similar to what you are doing, but he has Masses said in neighboring towns and cities for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

Purgatory is what we call, the Holy Hospital of Heaven because those in Purgatory have been saved but are in the process of being purified into 100% holiness, just as Heaven is nothing but 100% holiness.

This page describes how he goes about this:

I hope this helps,


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