“The Mass is free of charge. The Mass is the sacrifice of Christ, which is free. Redemption is free. You can make an offering if you wish, but it is free of charge, it is important to understand that”, Pope Francis said, speaking off the cuff in his General Audience catechesis today. The Pope explained that the “Eucharistic Prayer asks God to gather all of his children in the perfection of love, in union with the Pope and the Bishop, who are mentioned by name, as a sign that we celebrate in communion with the universal Church and the particular Church. The supplication, like the offering, is made to God for all members of the Church, the living and the dead, as we await the blessed hope to share the eternal inheritance of heaven with the Virgin Mary”. “No one and nothing is forgotten in the Eucharistic Prayer, but every thing is brought back to God, as we are reminded of by the Doxology that concludes it”, the Pope explained, continuing off the cuff: “No one is forgotten, and if I know someone, our relatives, our friends, who are in need or have passed away, then I can name them at that very moment, in silence, in my heart, or have their names written down”. “Father, how much do I have to pay to have their names there? Nothing, is this clear? Nothing!”, the Pope continued off the cuff, referring to the offerings the faithful make to request Masses for their loved ones. Shortly before, the Pope had reflected on the figure of the praying Church, who “unites herself to Christ’s offering and His intercession”. “In the catacombs, the Church is often portrayed as a woman in prayer with outstretched arms – with the hands like this, this is how the Church prays – in a prayerful attitude”, Pope Francis remarked. “The Church prays”, he added off the cuff: “It is nice to think that the Church prays”. Then the Pope quoted a passage from the Acts of the Apostles, which recounts that “when Peter was in prison, the Christian community offered unceasing prayers for him. A Church who prays, a praying Church, it is precisely for this reason that we go to Mass – to be a praying Church. Just as Christ stretched out his arms on the Cross, so too the Church, through Him, with Him and in Him, offers herself and intercedes for all men and women”.