“The celebration of Mass is the action of Christ and the People of God – ministers and assembly. Within the one Body of Christ are many gifts and responsibilities. But just as each organ and limb is necessary for the sound functioning of the body, so every member of the liturgical assembly gathered by Christ has a part to play in the action of the whole . . . The participation of all is demanded by the nature of the liturgy and, for the faithful, is their right and duty by reason of their Baptism.”
- Pastoral Introduction to the Order of Mass, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, #4.
There are many opportunities for involvement in the celebration of the liturgy. The primary ministry of all who are gathered together is that of member of the assembly. This is the essential responsibility of all – to be an active member of the congregation, to participate in the responses, singing, listening, silence, posture, and gesture to which all are called. We do this for the sake of the Body of Christ, as we are gathered together in prayer by Christ, who is the Head of the Body.
Welcoming the friend and the stranger is one of the most important ways to imitate Christ and live out our faith. It really is one of the highest callings and duties. The first measure of our hospitality is how we express it to our parish family members and guests. This is everyone’s role as member of our parish family – but in a very special way, the tone is set by our hospitality ministers. They are most likely the first person each one meets when they come to our door.
Music (Gospel Choir, Cantors and Musicians):
The mission of the music ministry – both vocal and instrumental – is such a powerful tool that it can be used to evangelize, lift our spirits, and draw people closer to God and His Church. We all know how inspiring it is to hear a beautiful choir so full of the spirit that it enhances our participating in the Liturgy. This ministry enables those who are called to exercise their musical gifts in the service of God.
The spirit of the parish community will be nourished through the meaningful proclamation of the Word of God. The lector – clearly and understandably – proclaims the Word of God to the assembly. Lectors must feel comfortable standing in front of the assembly, have good oral communication skills, and the ability to read effectively. The proclamation of the Word of God is the medium through which God’s word is communicated to his people. The minister of the word should bring to the proclamation his or her faith as well as their skill to read.
Those who are called to this ministry must, above all else, know how to be truly present to others in the moment they have. They are brothers and sisters in this very body and blood they are sharing, and not only speak their own faith in saying "Body of Christ," they call forth the faith of the one receiving. They may also bring the Holy Eucharist to those who are homebound, in nursing homes, hospitals or prison.
Acolytes are a vital part of the Mass. As an acolyte, you are assisting in the leadership of the Mass. As you light the candles, you are bringing the Light of Christ – helping the congregation to focus on why they are here in this place. The various tasks of an altar server usually include assisting with the book of prayers when the Presider reads from it, carrying various objects in procession (such as the processional cross and candles), and perhaps, assist in cleaning up after Mass. The main task of the server is to model liturgical prayer with grace and reverence and enter whole-heartedly into the public worship of the community. Altar servers are expected to be familiar with the ebb and flow of liturgy, to anticipate each movement, cue and need. Altar server training sessions are offered throughout the year with the expectation of regular attendance.
The specific role of the sacristan includes all preparations for the celebration – such as placement of linens, chalices, hosts, water and wine. This ministry provides for the good order of the liturgy. Sacristans are also responsible for the cleaning of the sacred vessels following liturgical functions.