After receiving specialized instruction, these parishioners are commissioned to carry out the sacred duties of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. They assist the Priest in distributing Holy Communion at weekday and weekend Masses and take the body of Christ to the homebound and the sick in nursing homes, and hospitals. These ministers must be practicing Catholics in good standing and demonstrate a deep love, honor and respect for Our Lord in this Most Blessed Sacrament.
During the Liturgy of the Word at all weekend Masses, lectors proclaim the Word of God. Lectors are also called on to read during other liturgies, e.g., Funeral Masses, Holy Week Services, etc. The congregation relies on the ability of the lectors to present the Word of God in a manner that is clear, inspiring and worthy, Meetings are held are various times throughout the year to help inspire and increase the skill and knowledge of lectors.
Sacristans and Altar Linen Care
Sacristans are entrusted with the care and preparation of Sacred Vessels, Sacred Books, and alter linens for the various liturgies, including daily and weekend Masses, Baptisms, Funerals, Weddings, and all seasonal celebrations. Sacristans are also responsible for maintaining the Sacristy in an organized, peaceful, and dignified manner.
Altar Servers have the privilege of assisting the Priest during the celebration of Mass and other Liturgical celebrations and devotions. These Servers must have received First Eucharist and completed scheduled training. Servers should demonstrate an understanding, appreciation, and reverence for the Liturgy as well as prayerfulness and a sincere desire to serve God.
These parishioners have a desire to serve God by maintaining His home in a manner that shows the love and concern of the community for keeping this beautiful structure welcome to all who come to pray, to seek comfort or just to visit Jesus where He lives. They dust, vacuum, and do general cleaning of the church, chapel, sacristy, cry room, and confessionals, etc.
Liturgical Year and its Seasons
The entire Church year (liturgical year) revolves around the life of Christ. The year begins with the season of Advent (preparing for his coming). We next celebrate Jesus’ coming at Christmas. In Lent we prepare for the Resurrection which is celebrated on Easter. During the weeks of Ordinary Time we consider Jesus’ life. Seasons: Advent, Christmas & Epiphany, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Christ the King.
Parts of the Mass: (There are 4 parts to the Mass)
- Entrance Procession and Song
- Sign of the Cross and Greeting
- Penitential Rite
- Glory to God
Liturgy of the Word
- First Reading
- Responsorial Psalm Second Reading
- Alleluia or Gospel Acclamation
- Profession of Faith
- General Intercessions
Liturgy of the Eucharist – Preparation of the Gifts (Prayer over the Gifts)
- Eucharistic Prayer
(Preface, Holy, Holy, Holy, Institution Narrative and Consecration, Offering, Great Amen).
- Communion Rite
(Lord’s Prayer, Sign of Peace, Breaking of the Bread and Wine, and Prayer after Communion).
- Priest’s Blessing and Dismissal, and sometimes important announcements.
The Sanctuary is the area in the Church that contains the altar, and the ambo (which is the term for the lectern).
On the lectern or ambo, is the lectionary which contains the scriptural readings for the liturgical year, rotating years A, B, C.
Placed in the center of the altar is a square piece of cloth called the corporal. On it rests the paten (plate) and chalice (cup) where the bread and wine are consecrated is placed.
The Sacred Vessels are the vessels used for the liturgical celebrations.
Near the altar is a table called the credence table where two cruets (wine and water) are placed and a lavabo dish which is the dish that the priest uses to wash his hands.
The tabernacle is also found on or near the altar which contains the consecrated hosts that are kept in a ciborium. Near the tabernacle is a sanctuary lamp that is lit to show the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. When the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration, it is placed inside a metal holder that is called a monstrance.
Vestments for Celebrating Mass
The priest wears an alb, the stole and a chasuble.
Alb: A white vestment with close fitting sleeves, reaching nearly to the ground. From the Latin alba meaning white.
Stole: The stole is a distinguishing mark of the priest’s office and is worn on a number of liturgical occasions.
Chasuble: From the Latin casual meaning ‘little house’. This vestment covers all the rest.