In addition to the ordained ministries, some roles in the Liturgy are exercised by lay people who place their time and talent at the service of the liturgical assembly as acolytes (altar servers), lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, cantors, choir members, instrumentalists, leaders of song, and ushers. Others contribute their time and talent to planning and organizing the Liturgy; to keeping the church and the vestments, vessels, and appointments clean and well ordered; or to providing decoration that reflect the spirit of the liturgical feast or season. Consider becoming one of the following lay liturgical ministers…
Art and Environment
Liturgical Artists plan and decorate the parish to enhance the worship environment for the liturgical seasons of the Church.
Sacristans coordinate the liturgical ministers at a given Mass and prepares all the elements that will be needed for the celebration.
Ushers and Greeters assist in the important area of hospitality, ensuring that: all are welcomed and seated; collections are taken and secured, emergencies are responded to; bulletins are distributed; and questions are answered.
Altar Serves assist the clergy (bishops, priest and deacons) during the celebration of Mass and attend to supporting tasks at the altar. Children and adults who have received their 1st Communion are eligible for this ministry.
Lectors and Readers
A lector other than the priest or deacon proclaims God’s word in the liturgy. Members of this ministry include men and women of various ages and backgrounds, who have the ability to proclaim the scriptures in a clear, articulate voice so that the Word of God is heard and understood.
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
Eucharistic Ministers serve the parish by assisting with the distribution of the Body and Blood of Christ, so that all may be strengthened and nourished to carry on the work of Jesus in the World.
This catalog of specialized roles might give the impression that those who are not exercising one of these roles are free to sit back passively and simply let the Liturgy happen around them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those who come together for Liturgy do not have the luxury of acting as spectators, waiting for all to be done for them. “Full, conscious, and active participation” in the Liturgy (as commended by the Second Vatican Council) is not only their right but also their duty and their responsibility. For more information on the baptized role in the liturgy download the following information sheet produced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Liturgical Participation
Liturgical Ministry Coordinator