The ministry of the sacristan is a bit like the work of the weaver. In order for all the members of a community of faith to take their full, conscious and active part in liturgical celebrations, there needs to be someone who prepares and oversees the things of the liturgy. There needs to be someone who gathers up the diverse things of the liturgy, readies them and renders them useful to the community gathered in the living prayer of the liturgy. This someone is the sacristan.A sacristan whose ministry extends beyond the confines of the sacristy-as it must-will be faced with a variety of situations and circumstances that call for a wide array of skills. Not only does the sacristan need to be handy and adept at preparing the physical things of the liturgy, he or she needs to be comfortable communicating and working with people. (From A Guide for Sacristans, LTP Publications pp2-3)
It is the Sacristan’s role to see to the consistent and proper handling of certain aspects of parish liturgy. In so doing, the Sacristan helps to create a prayerful liturgy for the St. Joseph’s Community, and frees the priest to give his attention to the prayer and to the pastoral care of the people.
The sacristan arranges the books needed for the celebration, marking all of the divisions. He or she lays out the vestments and anything else needed for the celebration, such as cruets, chalices, ciboria, linens, oils, processional crosses, candles, etc. As ministers at the Altar of the Lord, we witness to the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and in the proclamation of God’s Word. Serving in this way implies a personal commitment to the Eucharist which includes weekly attendance at Sunday Mass.
This ministry is open to adults who have celebrated Confirmation, and who are free of any impediments to participating in the sacramental life of the Church. A good sacristan is a boon to any parish and, as the GIRM (General Instructions for the Roman Catholic Missal) says, the post fulfills a true liturgical function.
As the Ceremonial of Bishops states: “The adornment and décor of a church should be such as to make the church a visible sign of love and reverence toward God.”
Frequently Asked Questions
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How to get Involved
Our biggest need for Sacristans is for Daily Mass during the week, but we can always use the help on Weekends and Special Masses such as Weddings and Funerals.