Monday November 23, 2015

Liturgical Ministers in the Church

I remember my first time ever being an altar server when I was in the 5th grade. I was terrified knowing that I would be in front of the entire congregation at my church, including my family. I had voluntarily been trained to become a server but, at that moment, I wanted nothing more than to run out of that church. Once the Mass began, however, I realized that I knew what I was doing and that I had nothing to worry about. Attending Mass on Sundays was something that I had been doing ever since I can remember and I had always thought that the special students in the white gowns were so cool for getting to help the priest during Mass!


Liturgical ministers within the Catholic Church play a vital role in the Mass as well as the community of the Church. People can become liturgical ministers at Mass starting at a young age as altar servers and can work their way up to becoming Eucharistic ministers, music ministers, and lectors. This ministry is one that allows all people of all ages to be involved in the Mass in a more personal way.


Which ministry or ministries are you involved in within your parish? Which ministries would you like to learn more about and get involved in?


I would like to tell you all about my personal experience as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. I was trained to be a Eucharistic minister at my high school, Notre Dame Academy, in Toledo, OH when I was a senior. I don’t think that I truly began to understand the mystery of the Eucharist until I began this formation process that continued when I came to the University of Dayton. It is never possible for us to fully understand how simple bread and wine can become the body and blood of our Lord, but I do believe that being blessed with the opportunity to share this with others has helped me to understand it more. When I leave my pew at Mass during the Lamb of God prayer, walk up the aisle, bow in front of the altar, and join the priest in front of my community, I feel such a sense of awe and joy come over me. When I act as a Eucharistic minister at Mass, I am literally and truly giving the love of Christ to my community by placing the bread into their hands or lifting the cup to their lips. This is absolutely incredible to me! In coming to college at UD, I have been able to attend Mass every Sunday (as well as on the weekdays if I so choose) with my friends and to give those that I love the love of my Lord present in His body and blood. To look into the eyes of another human, as weak and in need of a Savior as me, and to say to them “the Body of Christ” as I give Jesus to them is a feeling that cannot be expressed in this post or even in words. It truly overwhelms my heart to be blessed with such an opportunity at my school and in my faith community.


In reflecting on my role as a liturgical minister, God has put another insight about this on my heart. I am not just called to be a Eucharistic minister when I am at Mass. This is a calling from God that should be present in my everyday life. The Eucharistic and the love of God is present within me - it is present within each one of us. It is, at all times, my mission to be a minister of the Eucharistic (the love of Christ) to others. We can do this by being Christ for others. My commitment to Christ, in receiving the Eucharist at Mass, means that I will surrender my life to Him and His almighty will for me. This is not always an easy thing to do but I think it is something that we should always be working toward through a life of prayer and discernment. I encourage you to think about how you can be the love of Christ to others in your own lives.


Please pray this prayer for liturgical ministers with me (the link to the website is at the bottom of this post):


Loving Father, creator of the universe, you call your people to worship, to be with you and one another at Mass. I thank you for having called me to assist others in their prayer to you. May I be worthy of the trust placed in me and through my example and service bring others closer to you. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.


Written by: Victoria Schoen

Edited by: Karin Forsthoefel and Barbara Miller

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