In 1972 in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council and the publication of the Constitutions on the Church (Lumen Gentium) and the Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), Pope Paul VI fostered a wider role within the Liturgical life of the Church by establishing a role in the liturgical ministries for the laity. He taught:
“The laity can also feel called, or in fact be called, to cooperate with their pastors in the service of the ecclesial community, for the sake of its growth and life.” (Pope Paul VI)
All ministries have their root in ministry imparted in the Sacrament of Holy Orders; in appointing Lay Ministers the pastor (parish priest) delegates a share in his liturgical responsibility to the lay faithful.
“Only the Sacrament of Orders gives the ordained minister a particular participation in the office of Christ, the Shepherd and Head, and in his Eternal Priesthood. The task exercised in virtue of supply takes its legitimacy formally and immediately from the official deputation given by the Pastors, as well as from its concrete exercise under the guidance of ecclesiastical authority.” (Pope John Paul II – Christifideles Laici n.23)
A lay sharing in liturgical ministries also has root in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation as an exercise of the common priesthood of the people in an extraordinary way. Our celebration of the Eucharist is the action of the whole Church; lay liturgical ministries are therefore always exercised as a service to the Church i.e. the people of God and lead us to bring Him into our homes, communities and workplaces.
The priest as head of the liturgical assembly is called to foster the participation of the whole assembly where “each one should carry out solely but completely that which pertains to him or her, in virtue of the rank of each within the People of God.” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal n.5). The entire assembly has a role to play in the celebration of the Eucharist, not just those who have a perceived ‘job’ to undertake. Those designated specific roles such as the liturgical ministries have a duty to fulfil the ministries with grace and competence to aid the prayer and worship of the entire assembly.
There are a multitude of lay ministries within the parish, which we are invited to share in. Find out more by visiting each of the sections. Serving ministers can also find current information regarding their ministry.