The Laity are called to serve the Liturgy in various functions. Here are guidelines for Lay Liturgical Ministers.
Ministry of the Lector
Lay persons who possess the age and qualifications established by decree of the conference of bishops can serve in the ministries of lector and acolyte.” (C. 230)
Proclaiming the Word of God is an essential and important part of the liturgy. Lectors are to be practicing Catholics and are to give serious consideration to their preparation and proclamation of the Word of God.
1. It is desirable that the Gospel be read by the deacon or, in his absence by a priest other than the presider. In the absence of a deacon or other priest, the presider reads the Gospel.
2. For the first two readings and the responsorial psalm, a lay person, preferably a lector/cantor may be designated to proclaim the Word.
3. Pastors submit the names of trained lectors to the Bishop for approval.
The title sounds fancy but these are the men and women who assist in the distribution of communion. They are "Extraordinary" because the "Ordinary" ministers in the distribution of Communion are the priests and deacons.
Extraordinary Ministers of Communion
The ordinary minister of Holy Communion is a bishop, presbyter or deacon. The extraordinary minister of Holy Communion is an acolyte or another member of the Christian faithful designated according to the norm of canon 230 (C.910.1&3)
When the need of the church warrants it and ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply certain of their duties, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside over liturgical prayers, to confer baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion, according to the prescripts of the law. (C.230.3)
A lay Christian who is to be chosen as a special minister of communion should be outstanding in Christian life, in faith, and in morals, and one whose mature age warrants the choice and who is property trained to carry out so exalted a function.@ (Instruction Fidei custos)
1. Pastors who need extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion will submit a list of candidates to the Bishop, who may issue their appointment for a period of two years. They may be reappointed if their names are resubmitted by the pastor.
2. Extraordinary ministers should be fully instructed not only with regard to doctrine and ritual, but also proper decorum and reverence in carrying out their duties.
3. Certification of Eucharistic ministers is arranged by the pastor after initial training is completed. A record of certification is maintained by the parish.
4. The ministers are installed according to the Roman Ritual. (See Book of Blessings)
5. There should be sufficient ministers so that the rite is not unduly prolonged.
6. Communion should be available for the sick and shut-ins, especially on Sundays.
7. Extraordinary ministers may carry the Blessed Sacrament to sick members of the parish provided they have received proper instruction and are assigned by the pastor to do so. If the sick person is not available or unable to receive communion, the Blessed Sacrament is to be returned to the church if possible. If this is not feasible, they should consume the Blessed Sacrament themselves. In no case is the Blessed Sacrament to be taken home or kept in the car.
8. There should be a sufficient number of liturgical ministers so that there is no need for a person to perform two or more ministries at the same liturgy.
Lay persons who possess the age and qualifications established by decree of the conference of bishops can serve in the ministries of lector and acolyte. (C. 230)
The role of altar server is integral to the normal celebration of the Mass; therefore, parishes are to have well trained altar servers.
1. No distinction should be made between the functions carried out in the sanctuary by men and women, boys and girls. The term "server" should be used for those who carry out this function.
2. Servers should receive proper formation, which includes the following:
a. instruction on the Mass and its parts and their meaning
b. objects used in the liturgy --- their names and use
c. functions of the server during the Mass and other liturgical celebrations
d. Proper decorum and attire when serving Mass and other functions.