Overall, the role of the sacristan is to oversee and keep in good order the worship space (including the sanctuary, the nave, and the gathering area) and the sacristy. They must have a reverence for the sanctuary and for all articles and sacred vessels used in worship and liturgical activities. The sacristan is the person who is appointed to be available to prepare everything needed for the liturgy. The tasks could include (but are not limited) to:
• Make sure the furniture in the sanctuary is clean, appropriately positioned and not cluttered. This includes the altar, ambo, lectern, presider/deacon chair and other articles/furnishings in the sanctuary.
• Work with the priests, deacons, liturgist, and other liturgical ministers.
• (Lead sacristan) Serve as a member of the parish’s Liturgy Committee.
• Be familiar with the Ordo, Sacramentary, Lectionary, and other ritual books needed in the liturgy and sets them up properly in preparation for the planned liturgies.
• Be responsible for the cleanliness of the sacristy.
• Be responsible, as the pastor may direct, for the ordering (through the parish liturgist) of all supplies and materials (e.g., unconsecrated/approved sacramental hosts and wine; candles; altar linens; liquid wax; purificators; incense; charcoal; etc) required for liturgies. Note: This responsibility may be shared/sub-delegated to other individuals/groups (e.g., the Parish’s Altar/Rosary Society; etc.) with the pastor’s knowledge and approval.
• Makes sure that processional candles are clean and functional, with wicked trimmed, as needed.
• Arrange the seating areas for the servers, deacon and celebrant; placing hymnals and/or binders (containing the Prayers of the Faithful and announcements) at their seats.
The ministry of the sacristan is a bit like the work of a weaver. In order for all the members of a community of faith to take their full, conscious and active part in liturgical celebrations, there needs to be someone who prepares and oversees the things of the liturgy. … The sacristan is to know the meaning and purpose of the liturgy as well as the needs of the particular liturgical assembly, and to work carefully to see the liturgy’s ends realized by providing the members of the assembly with the tools they need [for a meaningful, prayerful, and active celebration].
Since the Second Vatican Council, more-and-more of these previously priestly reserved sacristan responsibilities have been delegated to an appointed member of the laity. At the St. Joseph of Alexandria Catholic Church, we have an appointed lead sacristan and individual Mass sacristans who fulfill these liturgical functions and duties
For more information contact
Lead Sacristan: Bill York 703 863-4647, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maceo Webster 703 690-4978, email@example.com
Linwood Lawton 301 336-4032, firstname.lastname@example.org