I am looking for ways I can serve. Can you please cite some examples of lay ministry you are involved in that you enjoy?
I am looking for ways I can serve. Can you please cite some examples of lay ministry you are involved in that you enjoy?
In our parish, a person is encouraged to participate in a discernment process that involves a spiritual gifts inventory, attending an information session, selecting an appropriate ministry from the list, and then training/mentorship. Of course, this is all done in a roughly 14-30 day time frame of prayer and council with a staff member or ministry lead. That’s the ideal that we encourage people to follow. Here’s a link to an online inventory like we use (not ours, but very similar). I do think it’s very important to engage in what you’re best suited for…
In reality, you sign up for what you’re most interested in and available to do. For me, right now, that means sitting in the pew on Sundays and looking for one-time opportunities in the bulletin. I have done everything under the sun in the past, but my circumstances were much different then. Perhaps one day soon, I’ll get back to what I enjoy in the parish as a regularly scheduled thing.
Call some of the ministry heads if you don’t have a ministry fair at your parish and ask them to speak with you over coffee (on Sunday or some convenient time about their work.
There’s LOTS to do.
First, what are you particular strengths?
If your Parish lists the various ministries in the weekly bulletin; check them out. If not you can always check with the Priest or Parish lay staff to inquire about opportunities. There is always something to get involved with in a Parish.
Mine is more prosaic - I help make and give out food to people in need. We offer simple food and drinks (various sandwiches, cake, cookies, soup, tea and coffee, squash etc) to anyone who asks for it at the door of the Parish House. The service runs for 4 hours a day, Monday to Friday, we are all volunteers and all the food is either donated or bought with cash donations from parishioners.
My contribution is to provide some of the food and give a morning a week to the preparation and distribution service. As I’m retired, it’s a discipline to make sure I attend ‘work’ on time. In addition, my contact with people who are in difficult circumstances keeps my eyes and mind on what’s important.
My involvement includes being a weekly committed adorer in our Adoration Chapell.
I am also involved in our parish’s funeral ministry in that I help with the set up and cleanup of the luncheon following funerals.Also facilitate a woman’s study group through ENDOW.
My husband is a Kof C and also an usher.
I have served for years as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, which I do enjoy, but in the past 2 years I have become the main Sacristan for our Saturday Vigil Mass, which is heavily attended by our elderly and handicapped members since it is held at our Parish Center, which is accessible by wheelchair or walker. I am a retired Nurse and widowed for almost 5 years, and have found this work as Sacristan to be one of the most rewarding I have done. I also wash and iron the Purificators and other Altar linens (except the large linen cloths covering the Altar itself, which goes to the cleaners at the end of each Liturgical season, or as needed – it’s too large for me to iron properly).
I had been a Sacristan during a few years spent as a Postulant and Novice in a Convent, and enjoyed it. Now I get to do it again, and still find it most rewarding. I get to greet and assist our handicapped, help them to the front comfortable armchairs we have placed in the front left of the Center’s Chapel, and otherwise feel close to them. Having been a Nurse in both Geriatrics and Hospice, I especially enjoy this work with our elderly and handicapped.
Serving as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist at the Vigil Masses is also a special blessing. The occasional Saturday evening when I don’t have to serve as an EMHC and only need to set up the Altar and take everything down and put them away (Chalices, etc.) afterward and able to sit and enjoy the Mass and concentrate only on the Mass without needing to serve for Communion becomes very special, since I am usually serving. We really need more Ushers and EMHC’s, there are never enough. Same is true of Mass Servers, children or adults, since we only have 3 – 1 adult and 2 children. I took the training as a Server as well, in case no one else comes able to serve. Have only Served once but that was truly a special blessing! Consider one of these ministries, since there are never enough, especially during holidays and summer vacations. If I can do these things as a handicapped 74 years old, almost anyone can!
I adore once weekly in our Perpetual Adoration chapel, and I am a sacristan twice a month. Eventually they will cross train me to also perform as a Eucharistic minister.
Our local Vincent de Paul chapter was recruiting yesterday and I might join them, as well.
I believe our parish has 52 separate ministries, so you should be able to find one that fits you. You could be a catechist, make prayer shawls, join a prayer group (to pray for people in need), join or lead a Bible study, do home visits or visit prisoners or people in hospitals…there is so much out there. Look at what you enjoy doing, what your comfort level is, how much time you have, and look for a ministry that is a good match. If you aren’t sure, perhaps ask your parish secretary if they have any ideas.
AKDee: I think what you are doing is wonderful! Each of us has some special gift or ability to assist our local Parish, and I feel we should all attempt to help in some manner. Even the severely handicapped often are a huge blessing, as they are able to pray for all of us, even tho’ unable to do anything physical in the parish. Without their prayers we’d all be in trouble a lot more!
I think we are all called to do what we can, and not to just sit in Mass once a week because it is “expected” of us! Our Chief of Police comes and serves one Saturday a month as an EMHC, and even occasionally as a Mass Server. (Startling to see a Server who is over 6’8" at Mass!) His two children are now Servers as well, but they are both still under 5’ tall (at the moment!!!)
Have you considered the Knights of Columbus? They can definitely keep you busy, plus you can enjoy the benefits of membership such as fraternity with other Knights and a top-rated insurance program.
My parish is small, and a handful of people do most of the work. I mentioned just after I as confirmed that I’d like to help out. So far, I serve 5 Masses a week, lector/intercessor as needed, sacristan for 5 Masses, cantor for 1-2 Masses per week and sit on the Liturgy Committee. At the beginning of February, there’s a course taking place for EMHCs that I will be attending. I enjoy all of it immensely, but I’d probably say to anyone looking to get involved in their parish that altar serving is one of the most satisfying things you can do.
Here’s a link to an online inventory like we use
Thanks for this, the results show pretty much what I am doing currently, except that I should look into teaching. Helping to teach a First Communion or Confirmation class does quite appeal to me actually. Clearly, I have way too much time on my hands, but there are worse ways I could be using it.
There is no reason why you cannot talk to people about their ministries and/or try a ministry for a few weeks and discern whether it is where you are being called to serve. Most lay ministers (well the ones I know) would be thrilled to have someone explore ministries, irrespective of the outcome of discernment and prayer.
For me, stress and tiredness were indicators that I was in the wrong ministry, sadness indicated that I made a mistake in giving up a ministry and lack enthusiasm when reading an advert, then it is not for me (at this moment in time).
Funnily enough I am not doing anything I wanted to do and am firmly rooted in the place I thought didn’t want to serve in, or need me (the parish). With the lifeline of the pastoral area and Diocesan lay ministers, I am loving every minute. :D.
The things I am doing now -
Rosary ministry - once a month me and a small team of benefactors mail out a bulk order rosary books to a parish in a different state.
Food pantry - I buy 2 cases of Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli a month for Food Pantry.
Daily Proverb email - I share a proverb from the Book of Proverbs in Bible each morning with a group of people in a BCC email. It includes Catholic commentary and any applicable cross references.
Outside of praying rosaries and often pray LOH that’s really about it right now.
I am looking for ministry options outside the realm of Knights of Columbus. I don’t think our parish has a St. Vincent De Paul Society.
I can start going to the Thursday night adoration for an hour, that I could do. I had been going to the gym on Thursdays but I recently cancelled my membership (will just run instead).
When it comes to Mass, I would prefer to just focus on the Mass. I will consider being on the hospitality team.
Thanks for your contributions. Please keep your examples coming.
I want to do more, I’m just not sure what to do, or what would be feasible for me.
I have a number of regular ministries in which I participate. I am a lector, I sing in the choir, I help coordinate the Religious Education program, and I am a member of the CWL.
I am also part of the pilgrimage going to Krakow for WYD (God bless the Catholic church, where I’m still considered a youth), I help out with quite a few fundraising efforts, participate in the drama club, and participate in the youth social events. I have also helped out decorating the church for special occasions and holidays.
The reality is, most of my free time is taken up with church ministries. It suits me now, and I’m fortunate to have a supportive network in the church who help me see when I’m getting into more than I should be. One of those friends reminded me recently that in looking for a ministry, you should always take time to stop and discern after the initial excitement, because otherwise you risk jumping in and either burning out or taking on a commitment you cannot sustain.
Many parishes in my diocese offer the opportunities already mentioned. There is also a “formation for lay ministry” program that can take up to a couple of years or more to earn certification. People who graduate can be spiritual directors, or coordinate CCD, or do a number of other ministries that require more formal training. Candidates for the diaconate are asked to complete the FLM program before they begin formal training to become deacons. Here is a link to the program: syracusediocese.org/offices/formation-for-ministry/#
I began in the Altar Guild, which I loved, but when I became the primary caregiver for my elderly mother, I had to step back from that because I couldn’t commit to being able to do the work on a specific day as my mother had so many medical issues. So, I then became the substitute person for cleaning the purificators and corporals as that was work I could do at home on a more relaxed schedule.
What I really wanted to do was to be in charge of the parish website and I offered my services several times only to be turned away. After the second time I decided not to let it bother me and not to ask again. Several months later I received a phone call out of the blue asking me if I wanted to take over the website
Now I serve on the Parish Council and am an advocate for our Diocesan Tribunal.
I have found that over the years my interests have changed as my faith has grown and that during some periods in my life I have had more time than others to work in the parish.
Religious education and RCIA are great opportunities as well. I’d suggest linking up with your parish RCIA instructor/team. You can help teach, but also in the beginning its a great way to learn and grow in knowledge of the Faith as well. Don’t let the time of year dissuade you, they probably will still need help, and you could even just sit in and observe until the Easter Vigil to get a feel for it, and do it again next year. Usually the more parishioners that take part, the better. It shows students we care.
If your parish doesn’t have St. Vincent de Paul, they may be teamed up with them in another parish. You could also volunteer at the food pantry.
Ask your pastor if he has any suggestions or recommendations, there may me something in the parish where there is a need right now.
I play piano at our monthly Family mass, sing in the choir, and my wife and I help out with Social Sundays (coffee hour). I set up and Mrs. Rover bakes cookies and brownies, makes the coffee, decorates the room to whatever season we are in, and cleans up. We both work the room during.
We are a very small church, but we do have a lot of opportunities for helping others.
Our church has a rather large food bank and support all who come for help.
The food bank folks go downtown every Saturday morning, despite any crumbly weather or holidays. They bring the Little Caesar pizzas that are not sold ($5) pizzas and whatever other vegetables, bread or treats that may be donated that week.
About four years ago, hubby and I started bringing hot meals down every two weeks. I’d love to do it every week, but being disabled and on a limited income prevents going more often. We always bring down a great entree, homemade bread, a great dessert and rich hot cocoa. The hungry and homeless people are so happy. Unfortunately, we are seeing more children in the lines. We set up in an empty field and the lines are long.
A few years ago, I also started my “Hats for the Homeless” Ministry. I made 101 hats in less than one year. Yarn was purchased by hubby and me, some was donated.
I also belong to a Prayer Shawl Ministry.
Hubby and I are both USAF Veterans and my next batch of hats are going there.
The Red Cross is in need of blankets. Check out their website, there are patterns there.
There are so many needs. Praying that you’ll find your niche.