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The Sacristan is a person elected to be in charge of the sacristy and other church equipment.

The sacristy in a church contains all of the liturgical vestments, sacred vessels, and ritual books. Specifically the sacristan is in charge of jobs that take place here, or it can also be the Eucharist, the baptismal font, the holy oils, the sacred relics, the different decorations of the church throughout the year, the preparation for the various ceremonies, the pregustation in pontifical Mass, the ringing of the church bells, the preservation of order in the church, and the distribution of Masses (Goggin, Kelly). Also, two canons are elected every year to preside over the work the sacristan does. They can perform tasks such as cleaning the furniture in the sanctuary or putting them in proper position. There are many important items that are needed in the mass such as the hosts, wine, and candles that the sacristan must order. There are many people participating in the mass that need places to sit on the altar and the sacristan organizes this. Previously, a doorkeeper was put in charge of the duties the sacristan currently carries out. Later the mansionarii and the treasurers also did this role. There most important duties were to care for the sacred vessels and vestments (Newbury 4). Church officials also insisted that the sacristan be a priest. Although it was initially recommended that priests oversee this duty, over time this job have been delegated to members of the laity. The role of the sacristan enhances the celebration of mass because it allows the process to go more smoothly. With someone making sure everything is organized, there is less chance of error. This way, not only the priest, but the entire congregation will enjoy the mass. The Vatican II documents state, The liturgy is not an extra, something nice that may give us good feelings. It is our life, our very spirit. It is the source of our identity and renewal as a Church. The sacristan ministry assists the assembly in celebrating this life with Christ and thus enabling the liturgy to flow properly (Moore).

If this ministry was missing, the assembly would be extremely disorganized. The priest would have to be in charge of these duties if there was not a designated sacristan. This would be added work to all of the duties the priest already has to perform in the mass and could be very stressful. Also, the items in the sanctuary could become very cluttered and unorganized. If the Ordo, Sacramentary, Lectionary, or other ritual books important to the liturgy are not prepared, the priest may have trouble keeping the mass in order. There are many supplies that must be ordered to keep the church running such as hosts, wine, and candles. If a sacristan was not present, these items could be forgotten and would not be available for the mass. This would be a significant complication because these items are vital for a successful service.

Works Cited

Goggin, J.F., and Blanche M. Kelly. "Sacristan." CatholiCity. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2012. <http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/s/sacristan.html>. Newbury, R.G., Jr. "Guidelines, Policies, and Procedures for the Parish Sacristan." St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church's Parish Website. N.p., 15 Sept. 2010. Web. <http://www.stcharlesborromeocos.org/default.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1>.

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