Parish Ministry: “Many Hands, Make the Load Lighter”
We will soon be asking for everyone “in the pews”, to consider offering your time to assist in various parish ministries. Although we have many volunteers who are currently involved, you will be made aware of some specific ministries that need more people. I fully understand that everyone is ‘busy’, that everyone has work and family obligations, but as part of our Parish Ohana, please consider if you could become involved in the areas that will be shared about very soon.
Two of the contributing factors for our needs, is the fact that many current Lay Ministers are aging and are getting tired. This is not a criticism but a fact. Also, many of our good and holy people, are involved in several ministries due to our shortage of people. Please consider if you can ‘step up to the plate’ to get involved. I will be making a Pulpit Announcement in the coming weekends to further explain both what ministries are in need and what they entail.
I would like to address the issue of whether a person can serve multiple ministries. For instance: Within the same Mass, can a Lector also serve as a communion minister or a choir member proclaim one of the readings? According to a liturgical principle from the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, not really. That principle states:
“In Liturgical celebrations each person, minister, or lay man or woman who has an office to perform, should carry out all and only those parts which pertain to their office(ministry) by nature of the Rite and norms of the Liturgy”(#28).
Simply put: One person, one ministry per Mass. Many parishes do not really think of the roles of liturgical ministers, other than the priest or deacon, as “offices.” Thus, many parishes allow people to serve in more than one ministry during a liturgy. I do not follow this way of thinking and operating. I am a firm believer that we should, to the best of our ability, have as many people involved at a particular Mass as possible. Doing so enhances the various roles that you, the Laity, have within any given Mass. This follows the central goal of the Second Vatican Council which was to distribute the liturgical roles as widely as possible among the Assembly to show more clearly the various members of the Body of Christ working together to do the action of the liturgy. This shows the hierarchical nature of the liturgy. The priest and deacons perform certain duties that the Laity cannot do, and the Laity has certain responsibilities that is particular to them. In other words, each member of the body has a role to play. Thus, each member is necessary. It shows the dignity to each member when we allow each person to do their proper role and we don’t let others usurp it.
One fact of life, which sometimes happens at a scheduled Mass, is that a scheduled minister does not show up, as assigned. There are always situations that could cause this to happen, for example: sickness, car problems, or another issue that might occur. This is understandable, does happen, and that’s when I appreciate someone who might be doing something else comes to our aid. But these types of ‘emergencies’ should not become our usual practice. The church realizes that sometimes we must go to a ‘Plan B’ and often it’s at the last moment.
I hope that you understand the situation that we are facing, and how I would like to resolve it. With more willing and able volunteers! As I mentioned above, I will be letting you know about the specific needs and we will proceed from there.