A THEOLOGY OF LAY LITURGICAL MINISTRY
“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Pt. 2:9).
All liturgical ministers are, first and foremost, members of the Body of Christ. Through their baptism they are the "holy people and royal priesthood,” whose right and privilege it is to participate in the ministry of Christ.
How the lay faithful exercise this ministry in the world varies, but the fullest and most fundamental expression of it has always been "conscious, active and fruitful participation in the mystery of the Eucharist."
Since the celebration of the Eucharist is the "action of the whole Church,” everyone in the assembly has "an individual right and duty to contribute their participation."
Some of the faithful are called to serve God's people in a more particular way through one of the many liturgical ministries that have flourished in the Church since the Second Vatican Council. This diversity of roles, functions and ministries enriches our celebrations and assists us in our prayer.
Serving in one of these ministries is both an honor and a responsibility, and those who commit to it need nurturing and support. This handbook has been prepared to help you grow in a deeper understanding and love for the liturgy, your ministry and ultimately the Lord whom we all serve.
PURPOSE STATEMENT / ACOLYTE MINISTRY
The Acolyte assists the presider at the Table of Eucharist, ensuring that the bread, wine and liturgical vessels are prepared for the liturgy, which is the source and summit of our Catholic Christian faith. By serving at God’s holy Altar, the Acolyte seeks to grow closer to God by understanding the Mass and helps to strengthen the community’s love of God, who is incarnate in Jesus Christ and made present in the Spirit.
• Learn the liturgy by participating in initial and ongoing training as scheduled;
• Follow directions and procedures to fully execute their ministry in the manner and style of SSJ liturgies;
• Be available when scheduled (approximately twice per month) or find a replacement.
• Be able to work together in a team;
• Arrive in the Sacristy 45 minutes before Mass is scheduled to help prepare for the bread, wine and liturgical vessels needed for the celebration of Eucharist, as well as vest accordingly;
• Even when not scheduled, be open to help with distribution of Eucharist.
• Have a strong desire to serve at God’s holy Altar;
• Have a deep sense of the spirit of the liturgy and be trained to perform their ministerial functions in a correct, prayerful and orderly manner;
• Believe in the tenants of the Catholic faith;
• Be a leader of prayer for the community, preparing for the Mass by reading/meditating the readings of the day;
• Be in 5th grade or older and have already received the Sacraments of First Eucharist and Reconciliation; families; couples; and older adults;
• Be physically capable of assisting on the altar (e.g., climb stairs and some lifting).
• 1 hour and 30 minutes per scheduled Mass.
• Up to 2 hours of initial and ongoing formation, as needed.
• Servers are scheduled approximately twice per month.
• Servers should be available whenever possible if coverage is needed.