We often hear people say how warm and welcome they felt after attending Mass or an event at St Patrick’s. That is due in part to our wonderful volunteers with their friendly and engaging attitudes.
Thank you to all our volunteers. We appreciate you!
The Sacristan Ministry
Newsletter - Lent Issue
Any gathering or celebration takes preparation and planning. It’s no different when it comes to celebrating the Mass or holding other liturgies in the church. It takes many hands to provide a clean, comfortable, and beautiful setting. Then there are the musicians, cantors, lectors, servers, ushers, and the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion as well. Worship guides and the bulletin must be prepared. And, of course, there’s hospitality, too.
But then there’s one job that most people rarely think about. One behind-the-scenes job that is essential for each and every Mass held at St. Patrick’s—daily and weekend, Holy Days, funerals, and weddings—and that is the job of the Sacristan. When the Sacristan does a good job, no one notices. No one, perhaps, except the priest, because a good Sacristan allows a priest to carry out his own pastoral duties around each liturgy: hear confessions, prayerfully prepare for Mass, and spend time with his parishioners.
So, what exactly does the Sacristan do? The job title is a hint. The title “Sacristan” comes from the word “sacristy.” The sacristy is a place in the church where the vestments, vessels, and other sacred objects are stored. The sacristy is also where the priest and other participants get vested for liturgy and where the vessels are cleaned and re-stored after Mass. The Sacristan is responsible for the contents of the Sacristy.
The specific duties of the Sacristan can vary from parish to parish. Here at St. Patrick’s the Sacristan is asked to arrive at church about 30-40 minutes before Mass begins. During that time, they turn on the sound system and check to make sure the wireless mics are ready to go. They make sure all the proper books are marked and put in the right places. Sacramentary, lectionary, hymnals? Check, check, check. The Sacristan is also responsible for setting out the wine and hosts and all the linens and vessels that are used in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
After the Mass is finished, the Sacristan respectfully and reverently brings the Credence Table—the table that holds the Communion vessels—back to the sacristy where they are purified before they are stored or used again. The books are also re-stored and all candles extinguished.
If Liturgical ministry is something that fits in well with your schedule—after all, you’re coming to church for Mass anyway—but you prefer to work in the background, the job of Sacristan might be right for you. It’s a rewarding way to serve the parish and also an excellent way to learn more about the most important prayer of the Catholic Church, the Mass. If you have been Confirmed and are interested in volunteering as a Sacristan, contact Barb at the parish office at 763-753-2011.