FOR ALL THOSE INVOLVED IN THE MINISTRY OF SACRISTAN and THE MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT
1. Will I have to change anything I do?
You will need to know the same changes to sung and spoken responses and prayers as everyone else.
Sacristans will also need to become used to a different altar missal, and possibly other pew sheets or booklets during the time of transition from the old missal to the new one.
The new altar missal is due to be published in three formats:
(a) Altar edition: this will be quite heavy to hold and carry.
(b) Reduced-size edition, for use at the priest’s chair: this will be smaller and lighter, and will be the missal that servers hold up for the priest to read from.
(c) Travelling edition: an even smaller edition for private study use and for priests on pilgrimages and other situations where it is not practicable to take a larger edition.
Apart from the new texts of the Order of Mass, most other things should remain unchanged. There will eventually be a new Lectionary to go with the new Missal, but this will not happen for several years. However, there will certainly be new editions of our current hymnbooks, containing both revised mass settings and new ones. Before parishes change to those, there may well be a time when pew cards with new music for congregations will be required.
2. Are there any texts in the Mass that speak especially to my ministry?
The ‘Berakah’ prayers at the presentation of the gifts:. . . through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands . . . the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands . . .
In Eucharistic Prayer III:“. . . from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.”
3. What other aspects of my ministry could I look at?
Sacristans usually have to work in close collaboration with many other liturgical ministers. It can be useful to examine whether there might be better ways of doing this. Sometimes we end up doing things less efficiently, and even less charitably, than we could do because “we’ve always done it that way”! Sacristans and ministers of the environment — cleaners, those who do the flowers, those who launder the linens, etc — are often the unsung heroes of what goes on behind the scenes. Other people do not usually see their ministry in action, but only the results of it. A day of recollection — or a party! — once a year can help keep these unseen ministers engaged and enthusiastic about what they do.