Christians today are called, as they were in the time of Jesus, to be with him and to share in his mission. The Church has teachers and guides who, like ‘the Twelve’ in the time of Jesus, are called to be close to him, to help the whole Christian family to carry on the work of Jesus. They are called to proclaim the Good News of God’s love by what they say and what they do.
A priest guides the Christian community in a parish through leading the celebration of the Sacraments and serving the parish family – the people, families, the school, care homes and often the local hospital.
Some parishes have a deacon who is ordained to care for and serve the people of the parish community. Lay people (those people who have not been ordained) also work with the priest. They, too, serve the parish and below are some of the people who serve the community by helping in Church.
Parish cleaners. They usually work together in small groups to help to keep the Church clean and tidy before and after any of the services held within it.
Greeters or welcomers. They stand just inside the porch and welcome people into church as they arrive. Sometimes they hand out service sheets or hymn books. If you are new to a parish they will help you to find your way around.
Flower arrangers. It is their job to keep the church decorated in flowers throughout the Church year both on and around the altar and sometimes at the feet of statues. If the flowers are fresh then they water, dead head and look after them. Some churches use artificial flowers, so the job of the flower arrangers is to maintain their arrangements by dusting them and keeping them looking nice and clean. They sometimes make arrangements for weddings, funerals and baptisms.
The Sacristan has a special job to do. Before Mass starts he works in the Sacristy – usually a small room next to the altar. He helps the priest by getting out all the vessels which are used during Holy Communion. He also puts the Missal on the altar and makes sure that the priest and readers have everything that they need. In some churches the Sacristan also prepares the vestments which the priest, deacon and altar servers wears. Not all churches have a deacon or altar servers.