Sacristans

Sacristan Ministry

Contact Michael & Karen Stephenson through the parish office

Did you ever wonder how the Church is always set-up for the weekend Mass? Items for baptisms - holy oils, baptismal garment, candle, and certificate - are always in place and seats for the baptismal family
are reserved, seats are reserved for the First Holy Communion family and the recipient's certificate is set out, the altar candles always seem to light, Children's Liturgy materials are ready and even the
books that the presider will use to celebrate the Mass are in place. All of this is done by parishioners who participate in the Sacristan Ministry.

At St. Francis, the Sacristan's general responsibilities are to help prepare and maintain the worship space and to have in-place the items needed by the presider to properly and prayerfully celebrate Mass and other liturgies, in a smooth and flowing manner. Preparation is the key to a prayerful celebration.

Typical Duties:

  • Reserve seats for Baptismal, First Eucharist and Vocation Cross families
  • Ensure baptismal items are in-place, as needed
  • Ensure Children's Liturgy items are in place
  • Ensure The Book of Intentions is in place for the start of Mass
  • Verify set-up of the altar for Mass
  • Verify there are a sufficient number of Altar Servers for Mass
  • Replace items after mass and set-up for the next Mass
Requirement for Ministry:
  • Faithful Catholic who has received the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation
  • Be at church before Mass to check set-up
  • Stay after Mass to reset items in preparation for the next Mass
For more information, or to become a Sacristan at St. Francis, please contact the Parish Office.
Pronunciation:
The emphasis is on the first syllable of the word - sak-ri-stuhn
Definitions of Sacristan:
One who is charge of a sacristy. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: 4th Edition, 2000).
Ecclesiastical official having care of sacred objects. (Hutchison Encyclopedia: 2000).
An officer who is charged with the care of the sacristy, the church, and their contents. In ancient times, many duties of the Sacristan were performed by the doorkeepers (ostiarii), later by the mansionarii and the treasurers. The Decretals (pontifical letter containing a pontifical decision) of Gregory IX speak of the Sacristan as a priest with an honorable office attached to a certain benefice (a permanent right to receive ecclesiastical revenues on account of the performance of some spiritual service) and specify his duty was to care for the sacristy, sacred vessels, vestments, lights, the Blessed Eucharist, the baptismal font, the holy oils, the sacred relics, the decoration of the church for the different seasons and feasts, the preparation of what is necessary for the various ceremonies, the pregustation in pontifical Mass, the ringing of the church bells, the preservation of order in the church and the distribution of Masses.
Saint Guy of Anderlecht - Patron Saint of Sacristans
Feast Day: September 12th
Saint Guy was born at Anderlecht, a village near Brussels, in the tenth century. As a child he had two loves, the Church and the poor, and he wished to be himself among the poor. While still very young he visited and cared for the sick, and he was regarded by the villagers as a young Saint.
As he grew older, Guy?s love of prayer increased in a prodigious manner. One day when he was praying in the church of Our Lady at Laeken, a short distance from Brussels, he manifested such devotion before Our Lady?s shrine that the priest, drawing him into conversation, asked him to stay and serve the Church. After this Guy?s great joy was to be constantly in the church, sweeping the floor, polishing the altars, and cleansing the sacred vessels. He spent entire nights in the church in prayer. By day he still found time and means to befriend the poor, so that his almsgiving became famous throughout the entire region.  A merchant of Brussels, hearing of the generosity of this humble Sacristan, was prompted to go to Laeken and offer Guy a share of his business, telling him he would have the means thereby to give more to the poor. Guy had no desire to leave the church, but the offer seemed providential and he accepted it. The first ship bearing a cargo in which Guy had an interest, however, was lost, and he realized he had made a mistake. When he returned to Laeken, he found his place at the church filled. The rest of his life was one long penance for his inconstancy. For seven years he made pilgrimages of penance, visiting Rome and the Holy Land and other famous shrines. About the year 1012 he returned to Anderlecht. When he died in that same year, a light shone round him, and a voice was heard proclaiming his eternal reward. He was buried in the cemetery of the canons of Anderlecht.
Sources:
  • Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Gu?rin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 11
  • Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler?s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894)
  • The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908)
 

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