Under the dedicated leadership of Paching Adolfo, a loyal group comprised of Anne Breiling, Mary Christensen, Juan & Ana Enriquez, Howard Major, Ken Mattas and Julie Szeremet have been quietly providing the preparation and set up for St. Joseph’s liturgical celebrations. Sacristans create a place for prayerful liturgy, freeing Father Wayne to give attention to the prayer and pastoral care of the people.
Anne Breiling trained as a sacristan through the encouragement of her brother Michael, but then left town for school and work. Since moving back, she has served regularly since 2009. “Being able to play a part in preparing the sanctuary and cleansing the sacred vessels after the liturgy is an incredible privilege, and as a lay contemplative and introvert I really savor the quiet time alone in the church before and after.”
Mary Christensen’s introduction to the ministry was by need. “One Sunday evening as I arrived for mass there was no Sacristan. I was asked if I knew how to prepare for mass and with the help of some Eucharist ministers we got it done. That was when I discovered I can do this, and that it is very rewarding to serve in this way.”
Juan & Ana Enriquez also recognize that “It is a privilege to serve God preparing everything for the feast together as a family in Christ.”
Howard Major and his wife Victoria returned to St. Joseph’s after a twelve year missionary stint in Mexico. “Have you ever fantasized about actually being present at one of the significant moments in the life of Jesus? Being a sacristan places me squarely at the scene of the Last Supper as one of the disciples helping to prepare the Passover meal. It is a profoundly simple and hidden ministry that epitomizes the spiritual concept of service. It also reminds me that I am the face of Jesus throughout the rest of the week as I try to live my faith walk with those I meet.”
Julie Szeremet became a sacristan after she was asked to fill in when the position was vacated by a departing church member a few years ago. “I have become closer to Christ through the Eucharist. Christ works through us to bring us closer to Him; all we have to do is say yes.”
Coordinator Paching says that back in ’95, all liturgies were taken care of by two sacristans, Sidney Dunphy in the morning and Andy Antonetti in the afternoon. When one of the sacristans died, she recalled that after a Sunday Mass, used chalices were left in the sacristy unpurified. “That was when my ‘Martha’ instincts kicked in. There never was a time since then that I have felt being a sacristan is a burden; rather, every time I serve, I feel the same gratitude as the first time.”
Any registered parishioner in good standing can be a sacristan, must be confirmed, and approved by the pastor. Training is provided. If interested