MEET OUR SACRISTANS: Faithfully Helping to Prepare the Altar for Celebration of the Mass
Have you ever sat in Mass and watched as the servers and priest performed what seemed to be a perfectly choreographed dance? Everyone on the altar seems to know exactly what they are supposed to be doing at any given moment during the celebration of the Most Holy Mass. Part of making sure that the Mass is performed smoothly, is the proper preparation of the altar. The altar has certain books and items that should be in specific places for the Mass to take place. The people in charge of setting up the altar are called sacristans.
“We come in before Mass, about an hour, and set up everything,” shares Patty Higaki, one of the head sacristans. “We get all the books ready and make sure that the correct readings are ready. We set up the credence table in the back and we make sure that there are enough hosts that everyone will be able to receive the most precious Body of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Sacristans hold an important role in making sure that the altar is prepared for Mass. Here at Annunciation, there is a small group of sacristans who have graciously volunteered to take on this responsibility. The sacristans rotate the Sunday on which they serve, and are also responsible for helping clean up after Mass.
“Being a sacristan has helped me to more fully understand the Mass,” Patty says. “It gives me a better understanding of how important all the different parts are.”
Sacristans have a unique opportunity to learn all about the different items that are used in the celebration of the Mass. This can provide a better understanding of what is taking place and the importance that it holds. Being a sacristan is also a great way to get involved in the community. Patty shares that she has met many wonderful people as a sacristan. It has also helped her recognize many members of the parish who attend Mass regularly since she is there to set up often.
“My family noticed a difference after I started getting involved in the parish,” Patty says. “It gives me a sense of pride. Sometimes it can be hard to see the importance of what we are doing, but other people notice. People around you — family and fellow parishioners — are watching and they see the important things that you do. They notice and it helps bring us together as a community. It gives our community a sense of pride.”