Story ran in The Hindu, June 14, 2004. Samantha Top Stories Report finds outsourcing of religious services in US New York, June 14.(PTI): Facing shortage of priests, Roman Catholic Churches in the United States, Canada and Europe have for years been "outsourcing" religious services to India and other developing countries, says a newspaper report. Priests in India are handling Mass for special "intention" or requests for services to remember deceased relatives and thanksgiving prayers. In Kerala, which has one of the largest concentrations of Christians in India, churches often receive intentions from overseas. The Masses are conducted in Malayalam. The intention - often a prayer for the repose of the soul of a deceased relative, or for a sick family member, thanksgiving for a favour received, or a prayer offering for a newborn - is announced at Mass, the New York Times reported. The requests are mostly routed to Kerala's churches through the Vatican, the bishops, or through religious bodies. Rarely, prayer requests come directly to individual priests. While most requests are made via mail or personally through travelling clergymen, a significant number arrive via e-mail, a sign that technology is expediting this practice. In Kerala's churches, memorial and thanksgiving prayers conducted for local residents are said for a donation of Rs 40 (90 cents), whereas a prayer request from the US typically comes with five dollars, the Indian priests were quoted as saying. Bishop Sebastian Adayanthrath, the auxiliary bishop of the Ernakulam-Angamaly diocese in Cochin, told the paper that his diocese received an average of 350 Mass intentions a month from overseas. Most were passed to needy priests.