The priest asks for volunteers

At your church before Mass, has the priest had to inquire for volunteers from the congregation to be readers, ushers, etc.?

Are you asking whether a need for volunteers is recognized immediately prior to Mass?

Or whether it’s the priest who has to ask for them?

Or whether it happens via stepping up to the mike at the ambo and requesting volunteers?

I’ve seen the first two, many times, but not the third.

Not ever!

Never. We have so many , that I only get to read twice a year.
Easter Vigil, and Midnight Mass. Have dibs. But only twice.

There is an occasional situation where an altar server has had to be found because they forgot it was their weekend. The priest usually just glances at who is sitting in Mass though and asks someone he knows; he’s never had to make a huge announcement.

My parish is a ‘mission’ parish…the pastoral team lives in a central location, and the priests travel to the outlying ‘missions’ to celebrate Mass…we’re well-organized now, and the various liturgical ministries are assigned on three-month schedules, but in the early days, lectors, commentators, and servers were ‘drafted’ as they walked in. .

No. The ushers will make sure that everything is covered before Mass begins.


Almost every weekend. People are not always available or reliable. It is usually the same half dozen folks that do about everything.

He doesn’t necessarily have to, and things are organized with a list ahead of time for the ethnic Mass. However, for the English Mass on Sunday he often just has one reader and decides just before the Mass that he wants to have another reader for the first or second reading. So he’ll just pick someone just before Mass starts. I have often been asked to do this on the spur of the moment.

Actually, when I was a kid there was no acolyte to hold the Missal for the priest, so during Mass at the opening prayer the priest asked, “would one of the spectators come and hold the book?” My mom was livid with his use of the word “spectator”.


In traveling to different places, we have attended Mass in Catholic Churches in or by national parks where obviously a majority of those in attendance are visitors. Only in those types of Catholic Churches was there an announcement ahead of time for different servers or ministers to step forward and help. Usually at one’s regular parish, if there is a shortage, the sacritan will go around to different people and ask. I’ve been asked in these circumstances as well as my sons. And in the above visiting Church, I’ve step forward to lector, my sons to serve. I always count it as a privledge to help out at the last minute if needed.

I’ve seen it happen at weekday Mass but not very often. On Sundays there’s always someone involved with scheduling who’ll do that for him if there is a need.

Sometimes we need a reader at the early mass, sometimes a server doesn’t show up so they grab another one, and too often the priest asks for 1 more EMHC when enough don’t come up at the 11 am mass. He does that by holding up a finger or perhaps saying something from the altar.

In my parish, the schedule is handed out about the middle of the preceding month (so next week, I expect to get the Sept schedule), There’s a lay person in between the two entry ways (east side and west side) who has that week’s scheduled people, and checks people off as they arrive. If it is getting close (i.e. 5-7 minutes before Mass), and someone or an already arranged substitute (who knows to “check in”) hasn’t arrived, that person may send someone to request a fill-in.

At the daily Masses (I work in a hospital, we have Mass there 2x a week and also holy days), I have seen the priest ask someone to lector and/or to assist with distribution of the Eucharist. There’s usually no altar server there.

When the previous priest was the pastor here, before one Sunday Mass began, he asked if there were any readers in the congregation.

Recently the present priest had to ask for usher volunteers before Sunday Mass began.

this happens once in awhile at a holy day vigil mass where the pastor asks for volunteers to take up the offertory (rarely he has to ask for a reader since the lector shows up more often than not). Luckily, I do have a good parish and if there are no visible altar boys preparing for Mass, some boys have gone to volunteer on their own, too.

We always have people scheduled for liturgical ministries, but quite often they don’t show up - especially altar servers - so volunteers are a regular occurrence. People today are simply unable to commit to anything.

At our large parish we have a Sacristan that coordinates the liturgical ministers and we also have a Mass coordinator at each Mass. At daily Mass there are a group of people that share the assignments.

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