Welcome to the Ministry of Sacristans! Sacristans help to make liturgies go as smoothly as possible and, most importantly, are guardians of the Eucharist.
Sacristans serve three vital roles:
- Security - Sacristans are responsible for ensuring proper treatment of the Holy Species, namely that of the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Blood, during and after the celebration. And, very importantly, sacristans are also responsible for keeping the Holy Tabernacle secure.
- Set-up and Clean-up for Mass - at every Mass, sacristans are responsible for setting up for both the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, preparing all the books, vessels, offertory, and incense (when appropriate).
- Mass Coordinator - a sacristan assists the presider of the Mass with whatever details or duties he needs. The sacristan will ensure that the altar servers ready and in place, as well as making sure the assigned readers and extraordinary ministers are present and ready to serve.
Many of the sacristan's duties are related to taking care of the Sacristy and the sacred items in the Sacristy.
The sacristan usually arrives 30 minutes before Mass begins. He or she makes sure that the presider has the required collections for the altar, including the chalice, cruets, linens, oils, crosses, candles, and celebration bells. The sacristan ensures all lamps and candles have sufficient light to last for the entire Mass celebration. Once Mass has ended, the altar cloths are cleaned, as well as the altar itself.