Mass organization


#1

It just occurred to me in talks with some other people that people do this different in each parish. I'm really not curious about cathedrals but particularly in parishes where there may be only one priest...who may already be overworked.

Do you have someone who helps set up for Mass and assists some during Mass, along with the altar servers?

If you don't-who does it? Or is it many people?

What do you call them and have they been women?

Thanks,


#2

Our parish has only one priest and no deacon. We have sacristans who set up everything before Mass. They put everything on the credence table, fill the cruets, etc. They make sure the altar cloths are the right color for the day. They don’t help during Mass, we have 4 altar servers so that’s usually plenty. They are men and women.


#3

This is mainly for Sunday Masses. There are people who do this on a smaller scale for weekday Masses.

Well, we have a sacristan assigned to each of our Masses. Most are men but we also have some women. They usually make sure that the altar lines are in place and that the credence table has the ciboriums and chalices ready for Mass.

There is a sign-in sheet for the lectors, ushers, altar servers, and EMHCs. There is typically someone from each ministry who checks up on the others so if someone doesn't show they can make adjustments in duties/find a replacement.

One of our parishioners has worked as an MC for the bishop. He is usually around the more crowded Masses on Sunday and often helps coordinate things.

During the week one of the secretaries writes out "scripts" for the Mass. One goes in the priest's binder, one goes on the cantor stand for the cantor and anyone who will be reading announcements, one goes on the ambo for readers/deacon, and one goes to the music director. The scripts have all the variable Mass options and prayers that will require coordination between different people. An example would be the Prayer of the Faithful where the music director needs to know when bring the choir in to sing the response to the petitions. The Roman missal and the Lectionary will already have ribbons or stickies in all the right places.

Our Sunday Masses run pretty smoothly but a LOT of people make a lot of preparations ahead of time.


#4

[quote="Annabelle_Marie, post:1, topic:289720"]
It just occurred to me in talks with some other people that people do this different in each parish. I'm really not curious about cathedrals but particularly in parishes where there may be only one priest...who may already be overworked.

Do you have someone who helps set up for Mass and assists some during Mass, along with the altar servers?

If you don't-who does it? Or is it many people?

What do you call them and have they been women?

Thanks,

[/quote]

I would leave it to the pastors whose job it is to deal with these sorts of issues. It is not for you to decide how things should be run. You are not a pastor nor are you a Bishop. Instead we should be worrying about what effect Mass has on our ability to love our neighbor as ourselves and how pleasing our souls are to God, instead of being solicitous for material aspects of preparation for the liturgy.

Luke 10:38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary. who, sitting also at the Lord's feet, heard his word. ** 40 But Martha was busy about much serving. **Who stood and said: Lord, have you no care that my sister has left me alone to serve? Speak to her therefore, that she help me. 41 And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, you are careful and are troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.

God is not a matter of logistics and planning.

John 3:8 The Spirit breathes where he will and you hear his voice: but you know not whence he comes and whither he goes. So is every one that is born of the Spirit.


#5

I didn't get the sense that Annabelle was asking because she wants to run the Mass at her parish, but because she just wants more information about how things are done at other parishes. We have threads like this all the time.

We are not a Cathedral, but do have more than one priest. Each priest sets up for his own Mass with the help of the altar boys. We do not have a sacristan or Mass coordinator, liturgy director, or any other similar role.

We do have a music director and a choir or cantor at each Sunday Mass. The hymns are the same for each Mass no matter who is leading the music. For special Masses we do more, but we never do things like sing the responses to the prayers of the faithful or have any kind of anthem/solo hymn during Mass.

There is 1 person in charge of scheduling altar boys (a mom). Our deacon handles EMHC coordination for Masses and home visits. We have a rotating schedule of people who wash altar linens and a team who handles decorating the altar for Holy days (including changing the altar cloth to match the seasons and days).


#6

In our church the sacristans do way more than just set up for Mass. They:

[LIST]
*]Collect the money from the votive offering and put out new candles every morning
*]Put out bulletins and song sheets on Saturday evening
*]Clean and replace water in the holy water fonts and make sure Father blesses the water when more is needed.
*]Order hosts, altar wine.charcoal for the thurible, incense, candles, and all other consumables.
*]Launder altar linens, corporals, purificators, hand towels, altar server vestments, funeral pall, etc.
*]Lock the nave of the Church before Masses and unlock after Masses
*]Polish the sacred vessels, clean and polish thiribles, aspergillum, whatever the holy water thing the aspergillum goes in is called, etc.
*]Change batteries in the microphones
*]Complain when altar servers check under the pall to see if the sacristan forgot a host, or that its to hot in the Church, or too cold.
*]Reprimand RICA directors when children don't genuflect properly
*]Drink coffee twenty minutes before Mass
*]Boss priests around
*]Say, "That's not the way we used to do it" constantly. :D
[/LIST]

And a whole bunch of other stuff that I can't remember right now. The idea is to take all those cares away from the priest so that the priest can prepare spiritually for the Mass and then pray the Mass, without having to worry if an altar candle is going go out during the preface because no one replaced it or something silly like that.

The priests and our pastor provide oversight, correct and advise, but they greatly admire, respect and rely on their sacristans. Our lead sacristan and the other senior sacristans are very good at what they do.

-Tim-


#7

Yes, sacristans can be women or men. Even back in the old days, it was fairly common to have some women on the sacristan job. (And in a convent of nuns or sisters, women sacristans were pretty universal.)


#8

[quote="Rainaldo, post:4, topic:289720"]
I would leave it to the pastors whose job it is to deal with these sorts of issues. It is not for you to decide how things should be run. You are not a pastor nor are you a Bishop. Instead we should be worrying about what effect Mass has on our ability to love our neighbor as ourselves and how pleasing our souls are to God, instead of being solicitous for material aspects of preparation for the liturgy.

God is not a matter of logistics and planning.

[/quote]

Actually I have been asked to do some thing similar in our parish...so actually it might be my job....

But in talking with a friend who goes to another parish it seems like things are done a little differently at different parishes...and I wondered how they were done in different parts of the country:shrug:

We have one priest and over 1,200 families...so he doesn't really have time to do all that as well....


#9

[quote="TimothyH, post:6, topic:289720"]
*]Boss priests around

[/quote]

:D

A few from our beloved Sacristan (RIP) who served our Parish for 70+ years.

"Father, these are the proper hymns for today!"

"Five baptisms in one Mass? Certainly not, Father!"

"No, Father. You **will sit here, the Bishop will sit **here."


#10

In our parish it's been women for the past 20 years at least.

None 'tell the priest what to do' and I've seen one cry when the priest refused to do what the documents said he should do during the Triduum (emptying the Tabernacle for Holy Thursday's Mass of the Lord's Supper) because she is so concerned with doing things the way the Church wants it done.

[LIST]
*]She launders the linens,
*]makes sure the door is unlocked for Mass and other Liturgies and locked afterwards
*]prepares the vessels & the altar for Mass
*]sets out the wine and bread and informs the finance council when supplies are needed
*]prepares the thurible if it's needed
*]prepares the water pot & aspergillum for the sprinkling rite
*]does the flower arranging
*]looks after candles
*]sets up for baptisms
*]sets up for Holy Hour of Adoration
*]makes sure the collection is put away safely after Mass.
[/LIST]


#11

[quote="TimothyH, post:6, topic:289720"]
Lock the nave of the Church before Masses and unlock after Masses

[/quote]

To make sure no one leaves right after Communion?:D


#12

[quote="TimothyH, post:6, topic:289720"]
Boss priests around

[/quote]

I'm trying to imagine our sacristans (all women) doing that at our parish, particularly to the senior parish priest. :rotfl:

Thanks for the laugh!


#13

[quote="UpUpAndAway, post:12, topic:289720"]
I'm trying to imagine our sacristans (all women) doing that at our parish, particularly to the senior parish priest. :rotfl:

Thanks for the laugh!

[/quote]

The senior sacristan is 83. I love her to death - something about women named Theresa I think. She spent twenty years in the US Air Force.

One day she told me that she had gone to the cardiologist and that he diagnosed her with a hard heart. That was actually the real diagnosis, that a piece of her heart had been hardened.

**So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills.* (Romans 9:18) *

We all had a good laugh.

-Tim-


#14

You forgot to ‘Correct Homilies’ :smiley: ---- “Um Friar, you do know, right?, that a peach pit is NOT a nut and today is the Feast of St John of the Cross and NOT St John of Avila?”

We have two Priests assigned to our Parish and we have two more in immediate reserve and they are incredibly busy and heavily rely upon a huge number of people to make any particular service happen.

The one vital thing is clear communication.

With no disrespect, but sometimes the greater miracle is that a Service comes off smoothly and has every appearance of being perfectly organised.


#15

Our mission church is small with Sunday Mass only. We have an elderly deacon who sets things up for Mass. Until recently it's was "whoever turned up" as far as lectors or servers. On occasions when Deacon was away things were completely disorganized. He does have photos posted of how the credence table should look, but if you've never done it it's still a bit of a mystery.

A new parish priest suggested weekly assignments for lectors and now we rotate between several people but still have occasions when we aren't prepared for someone's absence.

Last time Deacon was away I made a checklist of things to do that was a little helpful. It is confusing because some of his duties have to be done by a layperson when he's gone.

We are all volunteer as far as cleaning and maintaining the grounds. Usually if anyone has a bright idea about how to do something it falls on them to carry it out. :)

A lot of things "happen" mysteriously when someone just steps in quietly and does it.


#16

Our sacristians are all high school or college boys.


#17

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