For four Sundays in June, we held workshops after Mass for our Greeters, Ushers, Collectors, Sacristans, Altar Servers, Readers and Extraordinary Ministers of Communion. Along the way, we agreed on a few changes to how we celebrate our weekend Masses. Here is a summary.
We discussed the issue of talking in Church. On the one hand, it is good that we show our happiness at seeing one another, good that we are friendly and welcoming. On the other hand, it is good to pray privately before Mass begins, to prepare one's heart for the celebration. Some people have said that it is hard for them to pray because the noise level is too high. Therefore we will try this: greeters will continue warmly to greet those arriving, and the congregation can feel free to chat, until the church bells ring. The bells are a call to prayer. After they ring (about 2 or 3 minutes before Mass starts), we ask for respectful silence so people can pray.
We had a brief discussion about dress code. This was also a topic at a meeting of the Liturgical Commission, where we agreed that there would be no dress code for Nativity. This has not been a big issue, and we will keep it that way.
Gloria Whatley makes the combined ministry list, except for the altar servers.
If you cannot make it when you are scheduled, please try to find your own replacement. Enclosed is a list with phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
Welcome to our new servers! Like before, we will have 2 servers on the list for Saturday and 2 for Sunday. Lisa Trexler makes the duty list for the altar servers. You can call her if you have any questions. (912-437-3374)
Remember - the altar servers help get the church ready for Mass and help clean up afterwards. You should especially check these things:
· What color cord are we using? (There is a calendar hanging in the sacristy that will tell you.)
· Are the candles all lit?
· Will we be using incense or holy water today? (The priest will usually tell you right away and explain it).
About ringing of the bells - the big bell in the tower is called the church bell, the little bells you ring at communion time are called sanctus bells or sanctuary bells.
From now on, it will be the job of the servers to ring the church bell three minutes before Mass starts. You ring it for about one minute. That's about 30 pulls of the rope.
The sanctuary bells are rung three times during Mass:
1) At the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer, when the priest makes a sign of the cross over the bread and wine and says, "... that they may become for us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ ...".
2) After the consecration of the bread, when the priest is finished saying the words, holds up the bread and looks at it silently (the priest waits for you to ring the bell, then he genuflects).
3) After the consecration of the wine, when the priest is finished saying the words, holds the chalice up and looks at it silently (the priest waits for you to ring the bell, then he genuflects).
We agreed to share ringing the sanctus bells, switching after each ring.
Setting up the altar during the offertory - remember, Fr. Bob likes to have the Missal in the middle of the altar, because his old eyes don't see very well! Thank you!
After communion - the eucharistic ministers will now clean the chalices in the sacristy and not at the credence table (the little side table sticking out of the wall beside the altar). One of you should follow them into the sacristy with the water and help them.
By ancient tradition, "porters" or "doorkeepers" welcome the faithful and provide for good order during the services. At Nativity, they do three things:
1. Greet the people at the door (greeters)
2. Help people find their places (ushers)
3. Organize the collection and offertory procession (collectors)
We will use the term greeter, since that is what we have been using, but it is understood that the greeters do all these things.
On Sundays, the greeters will remain on duty all through Mass. More and more, the church is filling up and late arrivers are having trouble finding seats. The greeters will help them, especially after Mass has begun. We can do this in a respectful and friendly manner, for example, waiting until between readings but never making people feel bad.
Two places will be reserved in the back of the church for the greeters.
It continues to be the job of the greeters to organize the collection and the offertory procession. Some people wish to serve as collectors but do not wish to be greeters. This is fine! Those people will continue to serve as before. All greeters, however, should be capable of helping with the collection.
When there is a special collection, there will only be one pass of the basket. There will be special envelopes for the special collection, and parishioners are asked to put all envelopes, checks, etc. in the basket at once. The counters will sort it all out on Monday.
We will continue to use just one reader (lector) on Saturday and one on Sunday.
On Saturday, the reader almost always does the responsorial psalm. On Sunday, the choir usually does the responsorial. The reader takes a step or two back and waits for the second reading. He/She returns to his or her place at the end of the second reading.
Petitions (Prayers of the faithful) - these can be found in the black leather binder on the little shelf under the lectern. The lector returns to the lectern at the end of the Creed. Do not wait for a signal from the priest - in fact, the priest will be waiting for you. Only after the lector has taken his or her place does the priest read the introduction to the Prayers of the Faithful. He has his own copy at his place. The lector remains at the lectern for the entire Prayer - that is, the lector should be in place before the intro begins, and should remain there until the people have answered "Amen" to the priest's summary prayer. Only then does the lector return to his or her place.
There is a pronunciation guide under the lectern for biblical names.
When there are different options for the readings, Fr. Bob will try to send an e-mail in advance so we know which option to use; but of course you can always ask once in church.
No one should serve as a Eucharistic minister without being commissioned - the Church tends to be stricter on this ministry than with the others. At Nativity, we use 2 extraordinary ministers on Saturday and 2 on Sunday.
The Eucharistic ministers come forward near the end of the sign of peace, during the Lamb of God. They bow briefly at the foot of the altar, then go directly to west side of the sanctuary (Virgin Mary side).
The celebrant will usually give the chalice to the minister nearest the tabernacle first. That minister may then cross the sanctuary behind the altar (please remember to bow) and give the chalice directly to the altar servers. Please note - a lot of our altar servers don't drink wine yet!
If you run out of the precious blood, please return your chalice to the credence table immediately. It confuses people if a minister stands there with an empty chalice.
After communion, the eucharistic ministers and one of the altar servers go in to the sacristy, there to purify the sacred vessels. The sacristan will have laid out a corporal in advance for this purpose. Use the same purificators from Mass, as usual. After purifying the vessels, return them directly to the cupboard in the sacristy. Please wait for one another; when everyone is done, all three of you return to the sanctuary together. The altar server goes directly to his/her chair, the two eucharistic ministers bow in front of the altar and return to the pews.
The only real change has already been mentioned: please lay out a corporal on the cabinet in the sacristy before Mass begins, to be used for purification of the sacred vessels after communion.
Thank you all very much! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Fr. Bob.
Peace and all good,