Liturgical Ministries

Readers

About the Ministry

Readers at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel have the awesome privilege and responsibility of proclaiming the Word of God during the celebration of Mass. The Vatican II document Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy brings home the importance of the reader’s task by insisting that the proclamation of the word is one of the ways in which Christ is present during the liturgy: "He is present in his word, since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church" (CSL #7)

Readers must first and foremost have a deep love of and respect for Scripture. In a parish that has as active and vibrant a Bible study program as OLMC, we are blessed with many folks who indeed have that love of God’s word. Secondly, readers must be able to proclaim the readings audibly, clearly, and with passion to communicate God’s word.

What’s the difference between a "lector" and a "reader?" The office of lector is an officially-instituted station on the road to priesthood, an office bestowed on seminarians at one point in their priestly formation. However, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) allows that:

"In the absence of an instituted lector, other laypersons may be commissioned to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture. They should be truly suited to perform this function and should receive careful preparation, so that the faithful by listening to the readings from the sacred texts may develop in their hearts a warm and living love for Sacred Scripture." (GIRM #101)

The Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, another official Church document, goes even further in article #55, insisting that the reader must be properly trained in three ways:

  1. Spiritually - biblical formation to understand the context and meaning of the readings
  2. Liturgically - liturgical formation to grasp the "meaning and structure of the Liturgy of the Word and the significance of its connection with the Liturgy of the Eucharist"
  3. Technically - "skilled in the art of reading publicly"

Therefore, a good reader must be imbued with a love of God and his Word; a clear, projecting proclamation voice; and then he/she must receive proper formation and training.

New readers are welcome, but may be asked to be flexible as to Mass times, so that the needs of the parish come before personal preference. For more information, e-mail  .

Scheduling

Commissioned Readers who wish to serve Lord's Day Mass can pick the Mass time which they prefer and also select second and/or third preferences, if they wish. Schedules are prepared to assure that each Mass has the required number of Readers available. Readers are usually scheduled for the Mass they most prefer to attend. If they have a second and/or third Mass preference, Readers can be scheduled accordingly.

Any planned absences can be scheduled in advance by completing the on-line form, or completing the paper form distributed with the quarterly schedule and delivering it to the ministry head. For any unforeseen absences which arise after the schedule has been prepared, the Reader must arrange for a substitute by contacting another member of the ministry who would be willing to fill-in.

Training

Readers are required to attend a training session at least once a year and, after the training they are commissioned to serve.

 

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

About the Ministry

The ministry of distributing Holy Communion at Mass is a valuable and necessary service to the faithful of our parish. EMHC's assist the priest and deacon with the distribution of Holy Communion whenever the number of worshipers (or communion under both species – bread and cup) demands that the priest (and deacon, when present) have help to distribute communion in a timely and dignified manner.

However, the position of EMHC is often misunderstood, so a little background may be helpful. The Church teaches that the "ordinary minister" of Holy Communion is the bishop, priest, or deacon, as they represent Christ himself, who feeds us with his Body and Blood. It is only in situations of need that lay people may be commissioned to assist in this. Please read this excerpt from the document, Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America (2001).

Besides this assistance at Mass, some EMHC's also assist with the important task of taking Communion to the sick and homebound, an extremely valuable ministry indeed! These EMHC's bring the love of Christ and his body, the Church, to those who are most in need of his comfort.

Prospective EMHC's must have a deep love for and commitment to Christ in the Eucharist and a great humility in acting as his ministers. They must be reliable in fulfilling their commitment to serve at Mass or on sick calls, and they must find properly commissioned substitutes whenever they cannot fulfill their duty. EMHC's must also understand and accept that they act as extraordinary ministers, not ordinary ministers, and they must on occasion humbly give way to an ordained priest or deacon when "surplus" ordained are present at Mass.

If you believe you may be called to be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, please e-mail   for more information.

Scheduling

Commissioned ministers who wish to serve Lord's Day Mass can pick the Mass time which they prefer and also select second and/or third preferences, if they wish. Schedules are prepared to assure that each Mass has the required number of ministers available. Ministers are usually scheduled for the Mass they most prefer to attend. If they have a second and/or third Mass preference, ministers can be scheduled accordingly.

Any planned absences can be scheduled in advance by completing the on-line form, or completing the paper form distributed with the quarterly schedule and delivering it to the ministry head. For any unforeseen absences which arise after the schedule has been prepared, the minister must arrange for a substitute by contacting another member of the ministry who would be willing to fill-in.

Training

Ministers are required to attend a training session at least once a year and after the training they must be approved and commissioned by the Diocese to serve.

 

Servers

About the Ministry

The Altar Server ministry is open to all interested 5th graders and older who wish to be trained as servers for Sunday, Holy Day and special Masses. In addition, high school boys are eligible to serve as Knights of Our Lady (KOOL), a society of young men dedicated to serving at the altar and living a spiritual life.

Scheduling

Altar Servers can pick the Mass time which they prefer and also select second and/or third preferences, if they wish. Schedules are prepared to assure that each Mass has the required number of servers available. Altar Servers are usually scheduled to serve at the Mass they most prefer to attend. If they have a second and/or third Mass preference, the Altar Servers can be scheduled accordingly. Occasionally, due to inadequate coverage, Altar Servers may be rotated into a scheduled Mass which they don't normally attend.

Any planned absences can be scheduled in advance by completing the on-line form or the paper form distributed with the schedule and delivering it to the ministry head. For any unforeseen absences which arise after the schedule has been prepared, the Altar Server must arrange for a substitute by contacting another member of the ministry who would be willing to fill-in. This is an extremely important responsibility! You MUST make every effort to find a sub if you're going to miss your assignment. Repeated failure to show up and failure to find a substitute may result in removal from the servers roster.

Training

New Altar Server training is offered twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Current Altar Servers are required to attend training for recertification each summer or fall.

If you are interested in finding out more about Servers or volunteering, please email  .

 

Ministers of Welcome

About the Ministry

Ministers of Welcome (Ushers) greet worshipers at Sunday Masses, assist in seating people, assist those with special needs for large-prints missals, hearing assisted devices, or communion brought to their pew, guide collection baskets, and distribute bulletins and handouts after Masses. This important ministry often serves as our first contact with newcomers and visitors to the parish, so Ministers of Welcome should be warm, engaging, welcoming beacons of Christ's love to strangers.

To view the Ministers of Welcome handbook, click here.

Scheduling

Ministers are generally scheduled to serve every other month at a Mass time of their choice.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Minister's of Welcome or volunteering, please email  .

 

Sacristan

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the sacristan is "an officer who is charged with the care of the sacristy, the church, and their contents." In any Catholic parish, the behind-the-scenes role of the sacristan is one of the "best kept secrets" of the community. In a parish with the size and energy of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, with at least 19 Masses each and every week (2 on weekdays, 1 on Saturday morning, and 8 on the Lord's Day) and sometimes as many as 3 weddings on a weekend(!!), keeping the "sacristy, the church, and all their contents" well maintained, well stocked, and up and running is a tall order!

The duties of the sacristan include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • preparing for specific seasons and liturgies
  • assisting the priest when asked at various liturgies, on site and off site
  • training and supervising weekend sacristans to set up for vigil Mass and Sunday Masses
  • preparing and caring for liturgical vestments and vessels
  • taking care of altar linens and all linens used at Mass, replenishing as needed
  • maintaining an inventory of all items used in liturgy
  • ordering hosts, wine, incense, charcoal, altar, all candles, palms, etc.
  • coordinating the myriad of wonderful volunteers who help with taking care of:
    • altar candles and followers
    • holy water fonts
    • the adoration chapel
    • votive candles (daily)
    • sanctuary candles
    • Our Lady of Guadalupe flowers
    • servers’ robes
    • other miscellaneous tasks

To contact the head sacristan, please email  .


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