Ordo: Sacristan vs. Priest


#1

Forgive me if this question is stupid.

I have been a sacristan for five months. Less than a week ago, I became the principal sacristan at one of my parish's three churches. (That doesn't actually mean much, however, as at the moment there are only two of us. :p)

This morning I had sacristan duty for two Masses celebrated by different priests. I also had vesting duty for the first of the two. According to the ordo for our archdiocese, today is the memorial of St. Agnes and the liturgical color is red. There is no indication the memorial is optional nor does the ordo show that a choice can be made between red or green vestments, ordinary time Proper or that of the memorial.

The first Mass was celebrated by our pastor. I verified with him that he would indeed be wearing red vestments, then vested him as usual and he celebrated the Mass without incident.

The second Mass was celebrated by one of our resident priests. He vests himself. When he donned a green stole, I told him I believed the liturgical color is red today. He said it was an optional memorial, but that if I wanted he would celebrate the Mass for St. Agnes. I protested that it wasn't what I wanted but that the pastor had worn red so I thought it was obligatory. He did ultimately wear red and use the Proper for the memorial, but I got the distinct feeling he resented my having intervened. :(

Should I have questioned his decision to wear green vestments, or was I right to try to assure the ordo was adhered to? I honestly thought he may have forgotten about the memorial (Father is 82 years old and struggles to recall my name even though he has seen me several times a week for nearly eight months, sometimes multiple times in the same day) and I was only trying to be helpful.


#2

As long as you were nice when you brought it up, and I’m sure you were, you did the right thing.


#3

I agree that if you were polite and respectful it is OK. You may want to ask the pastor how to handle situations like this. Our priests act as their own sacristans, so I am not familiar with any official documents or directions for sacristans.

Obviously you don't want to make trouble were none is needed, but the pastor may have given you this responsibility because he knows you are attentive to these sorts of details. Could you offer to help Father by laying out his vestments for him as you do for the pastor? I would not though badger an 82 yo priest unduly. God bless him in his years of service!


#4

[quote="UpUpAndAway, post:1, topic:312100"]
Forgive me if this question is stupid.

I have been a sacristan for five months. Less than a week ago, I became the principal sacristan at one of my parish's three churches. (That doesn't actually mean much, however, as at the moment there are only two of us. :p)

This morning I had sacristan duty for two Masses celebrated by different priests. I also had vesting duty for the first of the two. According to the ordo for our archdiocese, today is the memorial of St. Agnes and the liturgical color is red. There is no indication the memorial is optional nor does the ordo show that a choice can be made between red or green vestments, ordinary time Proper or that of the memorial.

The first Mass was celebrated by our pastor. I verified with him that he would indeed be wearing red vestments, then vested him as usual and he celebrated the Mass without incident.

The second Mass was celebrated by one of our resident priests. He vests himself. When he donned a green stole, I told him I believed the liturgical color is red today. He said it was an optional memorial, but that if I wanted he would celebrate the Mass for St. Agnes. I protested that it wasn't what I wanted but that the pastor had worn red so I thought it was obligatory. He did ultimately wear red and use the Proper for the memorial, but I got the distinct feeling he resented my having intervened. :(

Should I have questioned his decision to wear green vestments, or was I right to try to assure the ordo was adhered to? I honestly thought he may have forgotten about the memorial (Father is 82 years old and struggles to recall my name even though he has seen me several times a week for nearly eight months, sometimes multiple times in the same day) and I was only trying to be helpful.

[/quote]

You did the right thing. The day's feast IS St. Agnes, no getting around that.

As long as you were charitable and respectful, (as I'm sure you were) there is nothing bad to be felt about it.


#5

Yup mandatory memorial, and on top of that, in the LoTH it is one of the memorials with proper antiphons that use the festival psalms.


#6

It sounds like you did the right thing, to tell him of the correct color, if you did it kindly and charitably. This can be touchy for some priests. I'm a sacristan also, for both daily and Sunday Masses, and for Masses that our bishop celebrates at my Cathedral parish.

Today, I would set up everything for red, and have the readings set as appropriate for the Memorial of St Agnes. I try to prevent any conflict from happening by talking to Father when he first enters the sacristy. I review the ordo with him. "Father, today is the obligatory memorial of St Agnes, if I'm reading the ordo right. Shall we use the optional readings? I have everything set up in red (the chalice veil and burse) and the Missal is set for St Agnes."

We often have this conversation, because our priests are Franciscan friars (OFM Conventuals) and they have their own ordo. There are many Franciscan memorials and feasts that are obligatory and others that are optional. In fact, they have their own sacramentary and lectionary, with required propers and required readings.

I've had the situation happen twice where the priest (our rector, in fact), put on the wrong color chasuble. He had come into the sacristy in such a rush that there was no time to talk. As he put on the white chasuble, I said, "Father, I think it's red today, if I read things right." I brought him the ordo and he said, "you're right, thanks." and changed chasubles.

On the other hand, I wouldn't get into a protracted conversation, or try to defend my statements with the priest before Mass. When your priest said "if you want me to celebrate St Agnes, I'll do it," it sounds as if he was protecting his own ego. He might have other things on his mind, other encounters, other problems. Let him be, before Mass, would be my advice. I'd just say, "Please do, Father, and thanks very much, I have a devotion to St Agnes." Let it go, especially before Mass.


#7

I vaguely remember doing something similar myself a couple of years ago when I had to remind my parish priest what the day was.

Don't worry, you did the right thing. Sometimes our priests forget where they are on the calendar. I'm half your priest's venerable age and I frequently forget what I had for dinner last night, so don't sweat about it. :)


#8

We have a book in are Sacristy and its got the optional memoria and the liturgical colours


#9

[quote="Aran_Houlihan, post:8, topic:312100"]
We have a book in are Sacristy and its got the optional memoria and the liturgical colours

[/quote]

That's the Ordo in the thread title, probably, I think you'll find.


#10

Thank you for your responses :) I strive to always be patient, kind, and respectful, particularly with our priests. I admit, however, that I'm short on diplomatic skills. No amount of patience, kindness, and respect can make up for words that are :eek:. But after reviewing the situation in my mind, I doubt that applies in this case. I hope not, anyway.

The second Mass on Monday morning is the only Mass I serve at with this particular priest unless he is the celebrant for the Sunday Mass, which is my responsibility every week regardless. So even though we work together regularly, I have not had the opportunity to build a relationship with him like the one I have with the pastor, whom I vest and for whom I prepare Mass a minimum of five times weekly.

[quote="paperwight66, post:9, topic:312100"]

Yep. The Ordo contains information for each day of the year, however, not just optional memoria.

[quote="Mrs_Sally, post:3, topic:312100"]
You may want to ask the pastor how to handle situations like this. ...] Obviously you don't want to make trouble were none is needed, but the pastor may have given you this responsibility because he knows you are attentive to these sorts of details.

[/quote]

I will do so when we both have the time to talk it out properly (most likely Friday afternoon). I don't know what happened before I came along, but I get the impression previous sacristans assumed the priests always knew what they were doing so they're not used to being questioned.

[quote="Mrs_Sally, post:3, topic:312100"]
Could you offer to help Father by laying out his vestments for him as you do for the pastor?

[/quote]

I have done so on more than one occasion, but Father insists upon doing this himself. The only priests I regularly vest are the pastor and the parochial vicar.

[quote="Mrs_Sally, post:3, topic:312100"]
I would not though badger an 82 yo priest unduly. God bless him in his years of service!

[/quote]

Oh gosh no, of course not :nope: Father was a priest for thirteen years before I was even born. God bless him indeed!

[quote="GwenL, post:6, topic:312100"]
...] I wouldn't get into a protracted conversation, or try to defend my statements with the priest before Mass. When your priest said "if you want me to celebrate St Agnes, I'll do it," it sounds as if he was protecting his own ego. He might have other things on his mind, other encounters, other problems. Let him be, before Mass, would be my advice. I'd just say, "Please do, Father, and thanks very much, I have a devotion to St Agnes." Let it go, especially before Mass.

[/quote]

Thanks for the reminder. Yes, I do need to work on not arguing with priests before Mass :blush: I could not, however, say that I have a devotion to St. Agnes because I don't. My confessions are long enough as it is :o


#11

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