I’ll confess right out that I don’t like the practice of naming individuals in the prayers of the faithful. General intercessions mean just that: they are general, not specific. That said, I don’t feel strongly enough about it to buck the expectation in many places that people be listed by name.
In my previous parish, I printed the last intercession something like this:
6. For the faithful departed, especially
Sat 4 only deceased members of the Smith family
7:30 only Elvis Presley
9:30 only Richard John Neuhaus
11:30 only Diana Spencer
Sun 5 only all deceased parishioners,
for whom this Mass is offered, we pray
We opted for this system because the pastor insisted we say the Mass intention out loud, and because it was easy to pencil in names of people who died over the weekend right after “especially.” Though once or twice a new lector read all of the weekend’s Mass intentions at one liturgy. We also had a list of about two dozen sick parishioners who rotated every two to three weeks being listed by name in their own intercession.
Then we would get close family requests: a sick son or daughter, a deceased parent. Younger kids in the grade school were always concerned about their grandparents and wanted to pray for them–when they were sick, or even just when they were travelling to Arizona or Florida or Vegas.
So, sit in the armchair, if you dare, and render judgment. Should we pray for people by name at Mass? Parishioners only? Close relatives, too? I once had a friend request a prayer for the deceased parent of an ex-spouse. They remained close, it seemed. I wasn’t sure how to proceed with the inclusion. If I typed just the person’s name, no parishioner would know who it was. If I appended “ex in-law of N.,” then I wondered if the designation would be a distraction, “Why are we praying for a divorced person’s in-law?”
Have fun, liturgists!