Welcome to the Ministry of Sacristan

Sacristans serve the assembly by preparing all the physical elements needed for the Mass. They prepare the vessels for the Eucharistic Liturgy, put out appropriate quantities of bread and wine, assist the Presider and other ministers in vesting, ensure that the books are properly placed, ensure that there are enough Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, Ushers and Altar Servers, and clean the vessels after they have been purified.

Your willingness to serve as a Sacristan, reflects not only a response to your Baptismal call to serve the people of God, but a commitment to Christ as you share in the sacramental, teaching and leading aspects of the church. Your attentiveness to detail and flexibility during the celebration is a further indication of your commitment to this important ministry which enables and prepares for all other liturgical ministries.

Once trained and commissioned in this ministry, you will be scheduled on a rotation basis to serve at the Mass you have indicated. Accept this position humbly as you have the awesome privilege of preparing for the Supper of the Lord.

God bless your efforts!


Ministry Information

At Sacred Heart Parish, parishioners are invited to serve in the Ministry of Sacristan through a process of discernment which considers the important responsibility, the need for flexibility and dependability, and the ability to collaborate with other liturgical ministers. Although Sacristans are not limited in terms of service, all liturgical ministers are asked to always reflect on their own fruitfulness and faithfulness in their ministry.


  • A practicing Catholic of faith and prayer
  • A love and understanding of the Eucharistic Celebration
  • A person who is dedicated, responsible, dependable, and flexible
  • A person who reflects servant leadership

General Responsibilities

At Sacred Heart Parish, parishioners are invited to serve in the Ministry of Sacristan through a process of discernment which considers the important responsibility, the need for flexibility and dependability, and the ability to collaborate with other liturgical ministers. Although Sacristans are not limited in terms of service, all liturgical ministers are asked to always reflect on their own fruitfulness and faithfulness in their ministry.



  • Your respect for the Ministry should be reflected in your appearance and attire. Because Sacristans sometimes serve as a Eucharistic Minister in the absence of a deacon or enough Eucharistic Ministers, it is suggested that appropriate attire includes being properly groomed and wearing a suit and tie OR clean, nicely creased trousers with a dress shirt or nice sweater; pants suit or skirt or slacks with blouse/sweater. Please note: no shorts at any time! Jewelry or clothing which would be distracting to the assembly should not be worn.
  • On the day you are assigned to serve as Sacristan, it is appropriate and a good practice, to develop the habit of taking time to prepare for your service with quiet prayer and if possible, a reflective reading of Scripture.
  • Committing oneself to ongoing faith and ministry formation is essential in being an effective minister, regardless of the ministry. Attend workshops, classes, retreats, and small Christian communities to help you grow in your own faith.


Responsibilities Before Mass

    • Plan on being in the sacristy at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled Mass time.
    • Turn on all church lights. (Notice burned out lights; leave a written note to the office so they can be replaced.)
    • Turn on the Baptismal Font.
    • Turn on the sound system.
    • Make sure there are altar servers, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, ushers and a priest by checking the sign-in sheet and/or the number of Eucharistic Minister or Lector crosses already picked up by scheduled ministers.
    • If there is no deacon or an insufficient number of Eucharistic Ministers, be prepared to serve as a Eucharistic Minister or invite a trained Eucharistic Minster from the congregation to serve.


    • Set-up: On the tray place:
      • 3 communion bowls (Patens)
      • 4 cups (Chalices)
      • 5 long, thick Purificators (One to be used to purify the vessels after communion.)
      • 1 Corporal (large white cloth). (Do not put in the dirty laundry drawer after Mass – return folded to clean linen drawer unless stained with wine.)
      • 1 finger bowl (Lavabo) filled ¼ with water
      • 1 Cruet filled with water
      • 1 hand towel
    • Place the tray on the credence table.


  • Make sure altar candles are lit by the servers. If not lit 5 minutes before Mass start time, then light the 3 candles.
  • During the eight (8) weeks of Easter Season, make sure that the Easter Candle is lit, and place two (2) containers (stoups) of holy water ¾ full with two aspergillums next to the Priest’s and Deacon’s chairs.
  • Place ribbons in the Lectionary and the Sacramentary for the Mass of the day and check with the priest or deacon to make sure they are correct.
  • Place the Sacramentary on server’s chair near the ambo.
  • Place the Lectionary on the ambo and open to the first reading.
  • Check the ambo for the Prayers of the Faithful and Pulpit Announcement sheets.
  • Set out the remote microphone for the celebrant after having checked the battery power. Insert recharged batteries from the charger if needed. Put spare non-rechargeable batteries in the bowl under the credence table.
  • At Masses with a large attendance, more hosts and/or two patens full of hosts may be needed.
  • The folding doors between the Sanctuary and the Day Chapel may need to be opened. There are special instructions posted in the Sacristy on opening and closing the folding doors that need to be followed closely. Usually the ushers will take care of this.
  • Set out the Book of the Gospels with the day’s Gospel marked with a ribbon for the deacon or lector to carry in.


  • Check the Tabernacle in the day chapel to see how many hosts are in the Ciborium. Leave the Tabernacle key in the Tabernacle.
  • Fill the large silver communion bowl (paten) ½ to ¾ full with small hosts. (If the Ciborium is ½ to ¾ full, then fill the large communion bowl ¾ full.) Adjust according to need.
  • Place one large host on top of small hosts.


  • Fill the pitcher to about 1 inch below the line with white wine. Pour in enough red wine to reach the line on the pitcher.
  • Place the pitcher (flagon) of wine and the large communion bowl with hosts on the window sill at the end of the main aisle.


Responsibilities After Mass

Purification of Chalices and Patens

(This is done by the celebrant or deacon at the altar; sacristans are no longer responsible for purification of sacred vessels. These instructions are for information only.)

  • No Precious Blood should be discarded; it must be consumed.
  • Put crumbs from each paten into Priest’s Chalice.
  • Pour water (a few ounces) into one paten.
  • Swish the water around.
  • Transfer the water to each paten and chalice, repeating the swishing action.
  • Pour into Priests’ Chalice and consume the water and the crumbs together.
  • Dry with one of the soiled purificators left from the Mass.
  • Discard soiled purificators in the basket or the drawer for cleaning.

Washing of the Sacred Vessels

  • After Mass when the chalices and patens have been purified, they are now ready to be hand washed.
  • Gently wash all patens and chalices with soap and hot water. Gently dry with a towel.
  • Wash wine pitcher (flagon) with soap and water and dry with a towel.
  • Put away chalices, patens, lavabo, and cruets.

General Cleanup

  • Go to the ambo and put the ribbon in the proper place for readings in the Lectionary and Sacramentary for the next Mass. For the last Mass on Sunday night, put all things away.
  • Make sure candles are out using the extinguisher. Do not blow out the candles.
  • It is always a nice courtesy to set up the tray for the Sacristan for the next Mass if it is not the last Mass of the day.
  • Retrieve the Tabernacle key and place it back in the Sacristy closet.
  • After the 6:00 pm Mass, remove the batteries from the microphones and place them in the recharger.
  • Place the microphones back in the closet after making sure they are in the off position.
  • Lock the closet door.
  • Lock all windows, turn out the lights, turn the sound system off and lock all doors.
  • Leave just one door open from the Narthex to the Sanctuary.
  • Return the Book of the Gospels to the Sacristy.


Special Masses and Liturgies

Ash Wednesday

You may be asked to assist with the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday. If you are assigned to assist in one of the Ash Wednesday services, you should check in at the sacristy and determine from the Celebrant, where you will be located to distribute the ashes and what script you will use: "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel", or "Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return." You mark each person’s forehead with the sign of the cross with your thumb while saying one of the scripts. Be sure to wash your hands after administering the ashes.

Special Feast Days

You may be asked to assist with the blessing of throats on the Feast of St. Blaise. If you are assigned to assist at one of the services, you should follow the directions given for Ash Wednesday and use the appropriate script when giving the blessing.

Baptism during Mass

  • Place the lighted Easter candle near the ambo.
  • Put out materials needed for the Baptism on the long oak table in front of the ambo to include:
    • Pitcher
    • White Baptismal bib
    • Baptism candle
    • Towel
    • Sea shell
    • Chrism (vial labeled “SC”)
    • Cotton ball

Funeral Mass

  • Ask the priest if he will be using incense. If so, find the censor (Thurifer) and incense boat in the closet on the east wall. Just before Mass, light two charcoals (outside). Put the censor and the boat next to the credence table.
  • Obtain the “sprinkling” container ( Aspergillum) with the plastic insert from the closet on the east wall. Fill it 1/3 full of holy water and put it into the container (Stoup). Place on the side of the Baptismal font.



Sacred Vessels