Called to Serve the Eucharist
Liturgical Ministers are called by God to be instruments of Christ's Real Presence.
If you are reading this, you may be discerning whether or not you are being called to lay liturgical ministry. As you read and pray about the theology that is the foundation of lay liturgical ministry, listen carefully to your spirit’s response. A sense of anticipation, enthusiasm, curiosity and eagerness can indicate that God is calling you.
A Theology of Lay Liturgical Ministry
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1Pet. 2:9).
Since Vatican II, our Church has been teaching us that those who come together for the Liturgy cannot simply be spectators. We who attend Mass, the Assembly, are asked to fully participate in the Liturgy, consciously and actively. Active participation means listening carefully, responding meaningfully, singing robustly, and allowing our spirits to be nourished through the Eucharist. But active participation is more than receiving. Active participation also means that we are Christ to one another in the Mass; we become Christ to one another when we treat each other with love, respect, and caring.
Liturgical Ministers have a special opportunity to be Christ to those assembled by their acts of service within the Mass. By welcoming as ushers, by proclaiming the Word as lectors, and by imitating Christ in sharing communion as Eucharistic Ministers, liturgical ministers are Christ present sacramentally. Everyone who is baptized has Christ’s imprint and so is worthy of being a liturgical minister. Through Baptism we share in Christ’s mission and in his holy priesthood. The presider cannot do all that needs to be done during a liturgy so that it is a beautiful offering of praise and sacrifice to God. By using our skills and talents to help, we share in Christ’s priesthood. Through the presider and through us, in our different roles, Jesus is revealed and our prayer deepened.
Liturgical ministers are called by God. Remember that when God wants us, He calls us for His work no matter where we are. You do not need to feel anything other than a call to serve God in the liturgy. Each of us is trying to be open to growing in faith and knowledge and serving as God wishes. We can assure you that you will grow if you choose to serve. For a more expansive and formal explanation, please read A Theology of Lay Ministry.
Would you like to speak to a member of the Liturgy Committee about the theology or spirituality of lay liturgical ministry? Please send an email to the Liturgy Committee for a response from a committee member. Be sure to include the topic(s) of concern in your message so a qualified person can answer.
As you next read and pray about the requirements, again listen carefully to your spirit’s response. A sense of understanding (one of the Spirit’s gifts), a willingness to abide by these requirements, and a continued sense of enthusiasm are signs of God’s call to you to serve.
- Liturgical Ministers must be registered and active members in the parish. Active parishioners are those that contribute time, talent and/or financial support to the work of the parish on a regular basis.
- Liturgical Ministers must be fully initiated Catholics in good standing. That means they have received the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation (with the exception of Altar Servers who do not have to be confirmed to serve), and participate faithfully in the celebration of the Eucharist. Liturgical ministers’ love for the Mass is evident by their regular, active participation in it. Please read the sections on Adult Baptism or Confirmation for more information.
- If married, Liturgical Ministers must be in a valid marriage. Please see Valid Catholic Marriage if you have questions.
Liturgical Ministers are commissioned by the pastor to serve for a three year period, renewable for one additional three year period. After up to six years of service, ministers are asked to take a Sabbath, a rest, from the work.
Please email the Liturgy Committee if you have questions about the requirements.
All who serve in liturgical ministry at St. Bridget are asked to follow in the footsteps of Christ who grew in age and wisdom throughout his life. Are you pleased or excited about the prospect of learning more about prayer, your faith, and ministry? This is a sign that God is calling you.
Required Formation for Liturgical Ministers
The Saint Bridget Liturgy Committee, staff and pastor are committed to doing all that they can to enable those who come to celebrate Mass to have an encounter with the Risen Christ, sacramentally present. One of the steps in realizing that vision is having liturgical ministers who engage in ongoing growth and development. The word “formation” is used to describe this growth and development because it includes three elements: intellectual, spiritual and practical. We strive to offer elements of all three types over the course of a year.
Liturgical ministers are required to attend the following initial formation:
- A gathering entitled Ministry Matters.
- A practical training with the Ministry Head for your chosen ministry
- New liturgical ministers are asked to read their handbooks, review pertinent section of the parish website, and begin to pray for themselves and the effectiveness of their ministries.
In addition to this initial formation, liturgical ministers will be required to attend to ongoing formation. Ongoing formation has two dimensions: a self-directed learning dimension and a group learning dimension. The components include:
1. Completing the self-guided learning offered to you by your ministry heads or by the pastor. Examples of self-guided formation include an article or a video clip/podcast that pertains to your ministry.
2. Attending special gatherings for those who serve in liturgical ministry. We strive to offer at least one gathered formation session for each liturgical ministry a year. Gatherings might examine the parts of the Mass, a spiritual dimension of a ministry, or a specific skill such as use of a microphone.
If you have a question or concerns about the required formation, please send the Liturgy Committee an email to speak to a member of the committee.
Practical Questions for Discernment
Are you still uncertain about your call to lay ministry? Following are some practical questions that may help guide your decision. Think about these, asking the Holy Spirit for help. Listen carefully.
- Can I consistently give this ministry my time and energy?
- Can I adjust work and family time and preferences so that I can serve regularly?
- Do I enjoy learning more about my faith and about ministry?
- Have I been considering this for awhile but been reluctant to step forward?
- Have I done this in the past and find that I miss the service?
- Does this just "feel" like what I ought to be doing now?
- Do I know the time commitment for this ministry in terms of formation, training, preparation to serve and service?
The last question may be answered by reading about the different lay ministries at St. Bridget, accessed through the Related Pages links to the right.
If you have decided that you have been called to become a Lay Liturgical Minister at St. Bridget, the next step is to sign up for Ministry Matters. Visit Formation for Lay Ministers for more information and dates.
Need more time? We encourage you to read, think and pray. If you would like the Liturgy Committee to pray with or for you, please send an email to the Liturgy Committee and we promise our prayer for you.
Christ Has No Body
by St. Teresa of Avila
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.