Those Various Ministries In The Parish

During the conclusion of our Christmas Vigil, the pastor went on for several moments to acknowledge the various “ministries” which made the celebration possible: the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, the ministers of music (organist & choir), the ministers of the altar (servers), the ministers of hospitality (ushers), and others which escape memory.

As long as we’re assigning minister status. Perhaps there are others?

We are all at Mass to minister worship to the Lord. Everyone has a role. Some of them are more specialized.


We each minister to the body of Christ according to our abilities, our gifts, our station in life and our opportunity. We minister on a grand scale or a very intimate scale and everything in between.

For me, when I began to see everything I do as a ministry, it makes me more aware of my words and actions. As the St Teresa Prayer says “Christ has no body now but yours”.

I will minister to my husband today when I flush his PICC ports, others are ministering after Mass today cleaning the floors after Coffee & Donuts.


There must be a Minister of Applause at each Mass. Once never knows when to initiate cacophonous noise during a service. Perhaps training is involved. I always seem to be juggling missalettes , hymnals, church bulletins, and articles of clothing whenever a round of applause breaks out.


Did something happen today to put you in a bad mood? In another thread you just started you complain about the responses to the prayers of the faithful. Here you’re complaining about people being in ministries. It’s Christmas! May you find joy in your life!


And once the clapping is initiated, such a minister could do double duty as the clapping enforcer! :roll_eyes: This could also work out even if the clapping starts for no obvious reason, without the help of the Minister of Applause.


Do you feel the term “minister” was incorrect? That is exactly what they are. The original Latin for minister best means servant in English. They are ministering necessary parts of the Mass. He also thanked them towards the end of Mass, which is when announcements should be.

Yes just so ALL in attendance are active and participating especially the MANY in the pews.

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There is precedent for this among the ancient Romans. It could include gestures, such as spontaneous hand holding at the Our Father, which tends to fade away where not adequately monitored.

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Perhaps there should be a distinction between

  • Someone engaged in a ministry;
  • Someone engaged in other activity useful to the parish, or this particular congregation

All of the activities OP listed are considered ministries and are generally referred to as such in more than just OP’ s parish. Doesn’t sound like the Priest was referring to coffee and donut help.

Ok, but other Catholics have tended to blur the use of the that term. Just a caution. I would be more comfortable with the term Lay Apostolate for some things.


Could be, but that’s perhaps another thread. Original poster listed several things sarcastically that are always referred to as such … extraordinary ministers of the eucharist and music ministers specifically.

It’s not isolated to today, at least I don’t believe it is; @Reverent_Howler must lead a tiring and sad life lately; we could almost start a new forum category just for his complaints. Perhaps we should offer prayers for him and his ability to focus on the beauty of the Mass rather than constant “abuse” patrol.


But these parish and liturgical ministries don’t actually meet the definition of lay apostolates. They really are ministries—I’m not sure why the OP finds that problematic.

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The ministers towards the sick. They are so important and I would benefit a lot from them.

My understanding is that the Church uses the term “minister” for the functions normally done by persons in Holy Orders. The deacon has a right to read the gospel at Mass for instance.

Out of necessity (only one cleric at Mass) the Church may allow a designated lay person to distribute Communion, but this is “extraordinary”; this person is (ad hoc) in that “ministry”, though filling in by option, not by right.

The person playing the organ does that by right, a permanent right. They aren’t filling in. That is part of the lay apostolate, not ministry. The usher who helps seat the congregation, the guy who shovels snow off the steps so worshippers can get in, part of the lay apostolate.


A couple at a parish I formerly attended joined the parish on the basis of everyone enthusiastically holding hands during the Pater Noster.

The music help is always referred to as “music ministry”. They are a major part of the Mass and pick the music for the week within a set of guidelines. Ministries are not reserved for Holy Orders by Catholic definition. Most parish websites (at least American) have a ministries tab on them and under it are Eucharistic Ministers, Music Ministry, Lectors, and Altar Servers. I’d agree that calling ushering a ministry may be pushing it.

To be ministries they should be connected in some way with the sacraments, shouldn’t they?

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